The effectiveness of remotely delivered, self-directed, weight loss programs in routine clinical practice is largely unknown.
To test whether a self-directed, remotely administered behavioral lifestyle intervention improves weight and self-reported general health status compared with usual care.
In this randomized clinical trial, 511 adults with a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or more and less than 45 (based on electronic health record [EHR] weight and height), were enrolled from 30 Veterans Health Administration (VHA) sites between February 15, 2018, and December 18, 2018 (final follow-up February 18, 2021).
Participants were randomly assigned to the intervention group (n = 254) or the control group (n = 257). Both received usual care. Participants randomized to the intervention received Diabetes Prevention Program-based self-directed videos, handouts, and coaching messages via an online platform or US mail for 12 months.
Coprimary outcomes were weight measured in primary care and recorded in the EHR and self-reported general health status using the Medical Outcomes Study 12-Item Short Form Health Survey (SF-12) physical component score (PCS; higher scores are better [range, 0-100]) at the 12-month follow-up. The between-group minimal clinically important differences are 3 kg for weight and 5 points for the SF-12 PCS. Linear mixed models used weights and SF-12 PCS measured at either time point, with participants analyzed according to randomization assignment. Statistical significance for each coprimary outcome was based on a 2-sided α level of .025.
Among 511 participants randomized (mean age, 57.4 [SD, 13.9] years; 231 female [45%]), 429 (84.0%) had EHR-based weights and 410 (80.2%) had SF-12 PCS data at 12 months. The unadjusted mean weight at 12 months declined from 102.7 kg to 99.8 kg in the intervention group compared with 101.9 kg to 101.0 kg in the control group (adjusted between-group mean difference, -1.93 [97.5% CI, -3.24 to -0.61]; P = .001). At 12 months, the unadjusted mean SF-12 PCS scores declined from 44.8 to 44.3 among intervention participants compared with 44.5 to 43.2 among control participants (adjusted between-group mean difference, intervention minus control, 0.69 [97.5% CI, -1.11 to 2.49]; P = .39). Cardiovascular events represented the highest percentage of serious adverse events, accounting for 25% of events in the intervention group and 35% in the control group.
Among adults with obesity, a remotely delivered self-directed, behavioral lifestyle intervention, compared with usual care, resulted in statistically significantly greater weight loss at 12 months, although the difference was not clinically important. There was no significant difference in self-reported general physical health status at 12 months.
ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier: NCT03260140.