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Virtual conferencing effective weight management intervention

Study Highlight:

  • People participating in a virtual evidence-based group weight management intervention lost more weight than those in a control group.

Embargoed until 1 p.m. PT / 4 p.m. ET on Thursday, March 20, 2014

(NewMediaWire) - March 20, 2014 - SAN FRANCISCO - A weight management intervention delivered virtually via video conferencing helped participants lose weight, according to a study presented at the American Heart Association’s Epidemiology & Prevention/Nutrition, Physical Activity & Metabolism Scientific Sessions 2014.

Forty-seven obese men (21-60 years-old) participated in a 12-week group weight management intervention led by a healthcare provider. They were assigned to start the intervention immediately or three months later.

“This is a first attempt to deliver group-based healthcare services remotely, in a face-to-face virtual environment,” said Kristen M.J. Azar, R.N., M.S.N./M.P.H., one of the study’s authors and assistant nurse researcher at the Palo Alto Medical Foundation in Palo Alto, Calif. “In each intervention, eight participants attended meetings from their homes or offices, or any location of their choosing. Participants even joined the weekly meetings from different states in the United States and different countries while on business trips and vacation.”

The researchers found:

  • Men in the intervention group lost an average 4.3 percent of their body weight after three months, versus an average 0.7 percent in the comparison group.
  • Those in the intervention group lost an average nine pounds more than those in the comparison group.
  • Participants in the intervention group lost nearly one pound for every session attended.
  • Participants in the intervention group attended an average 75 percent of the 12 weekly sessions.

More studies are needed to explore cost-effectiveness, what populations may be best suited and how to best deliver the intervention in primary care settings, Azar said.

Co-authors are Magi Aurora, B.S.; Elsie J. Wang, M.S.; Amy Muzaffar, M.D.; Alice Pressman, Ph.D., M.S.; and Latha Palaniappan, M.D., M.S. Author disclosures are on the abstract.

The Verizon Foundation funded the study.

Disclosures are listed on the abstract

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Statements and conclusions of study authors that are presented at American Heart Association scientific meetings are solely those of the study authors and do not necessarily reflect association policy or position. The association makes no representation or warranty as to their accuracy or reliability. The association receives funding primarily from individuals; foundations and corporations (including pharmaceutical, device manufacturers and other companies) also make donations and fund specific association programs and events. The association has strict policies to prevent these relationships from influencing the science content. Revenues from pharmaceutical and device corporations are available at

Note: This abstract will be presented at 3:30 p.m. PT Thursday, March 20, 2014. Embargoes lift at time of presentation or 1 p.m. PT/4 p.m. ET, whichever comes first.

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