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Online, in person diabetes programs equally effective for weight loss

By Allen Cone
Online, in person diabetes programs equally effective for weight loss
A study found online diabetes programs and ones administered in-person were just as effective in weight loss, according to study. Photo by TeroVesalainen/Pixabay

Sept. 24 (UPI) -- Online diabetes programs and ones administered in person were just as effective in weight loss, according to study.

Researchers compared results from the Veterans Administration's face-to-face standard-of-care weight management program, called MOVE!, against online and in-person diabetes prevention methods. Their findings, published Monday in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, are the first time the programs were compared.

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A total of 268 obese or overweight veterans with prediabetes were enrolled in the online diabetes programs, with 56 percent completing eight or more modules between 2015 and 2017. The standard in-person program had 273 participants the MOVE! program had 114 -- both between 2012 and 2014.

Enrollees in the online diabetes prevention program had a mean weight loss of 10.3 pounds at six months and 8.8 pounds at 12 months. Participants who completed one or more modules/sessions in the standard in-person program had 10.6 pounds of weight loss at six months and 9 pounds at one year. In the MOVE! program, weight loss was significantly less -- 1.1 pounds at six months and 10.6 pounds at one year.

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In addition, the researchers found that the online program had better participation than the in-person program, with 87 percent of online participants completing eight or more sessions, compared with 59 percent for the standard in-person program and 55 percent for MOVE!

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The online program, which was developed by Omada Health, included virtual groups of participants; live e-coaches who monitored group interactions and provided the participants with feedback via phone and private online messages; weekly educational modules on healthy eating and exercise; and wireless scales to record participant weights.

In the in-person program, eight to 22 group-based face-to-face sessions focused on 7 percent weight loss and at least 150 minutes per session of moderate physical activity.

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The MOVE! program included eight to 12 face-to-face healthy-lifestyle sessions and monthly maintenance sessions but no goals.

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