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Efficacy of an app-based multimodal lifestyle intervention on body weight in persons with obesity: results from a randomized controlled trial.

BACKGROUND: Despite an increasing number of smartphone applications (apps) addressing weight management, data on the effect of app-based multimodal obesity treatment approaches on weight loss is limited. This study aimed to examine the effect of a digital multimodal weight loss intervention program delivered by an app on body weight in persons with obesity.

METHODS: For this single-centre randomized controlled study, 168 adults with a body mass index (BMI) between 30.0 and 40.0 kg/m2 without severe comorbidities were recruited in the region of Munich and randomized into two intervention groups. The ADHOC group received an app-based multimodal weight loss program from baseline on for 12 weeks plus 12 weeks of follow-up. The EXPECT group received the app-based intervention for 12 weeks after 12 weeks of "waiting" (no intervention). Anthropometric data, data on quality of life (EuroQol, EQ-5D-5L), and app usage data were collected.

RESULTS: 64.3% of study participants were women, mean age was 46.8 ± 11.0 years, and mean BMI was 34.2 ± 2.8 kg/m2 . The completers analysis resulted in a weight loss of 3.2 ± 3.2 kg (3.2 ± 3.0%) in the ADHOC group and 0.4 ± 2.6 kg (0.3 ± 2.6%) in the EXPECT group after 12 weeks, with a significant difference between the groups (β [95% CI] = -2.9 [-3.8; -1.9], p < 0.001). Completers in the ADHOC group showed weight maintenance after 24 weeks. The time spent on the app was associated with weight reduction (β [95% CI] = -0.10 [-0.18; -0.01], p = 0.03).

CONCLUSIONS: Application of a multimodal app-based weight loss program results in moderate weight loss in persons with obesity.

TRIAL REGISTRATION: This study was registered in the German Clinical Trials Register (Registration number: DRKS00025291).

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