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Journal of Obesity
Volume 2013 (2013), Article ID 151597, 7 pages
Research Article

Randomized Controlled Pilot Study Testing Use of Smartphone Technology for Obesity Treatment

1Johns Hopkins University Schools of Nursing, Medicine and Public Health, 525 N. Wolfe Street, Baltimore, MD 21205, USA
2Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing and Medicine, 525 N. Wolfe Street, Baltimore, MD 21205, USA
3Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and Nursing, 301 Building Suite 2422, 4940 Eastern Avenue, Baltimore, MD 21224, USA
4Institute for Clinical and Translational Research, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, 1820 Lancaster Street Suite 300, Baltimore, MD 21231, USA

Received 4 October 2013; Accepted 22 November 2013

Academic Editor: Michel M. Murr

Copyright © 2013 Jerilyn K. Allen et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Background. The established interventions for weight loss are resource intensive which can create barriers for full participation and ultimate translation. The major goal of this pilot study was to evaluate the feasibility, acceptability, and preliminary efficacy of theoretically based behavioral interventions delivered by smartphone technology. Methods. The study randomized 68 obese adults to receive one of four interventions for six months: (1) intensive counseling intervention, (2) intensive counseling plus smartphone intervention, (3) a less intensive counseling plus smartphone intervention, and (4) smartphone intervention only. The outcome measures of weight, BMI, waist circumference, and self-reported dietary intake and physical activity were assessed at baseline and six months. Results. The sample was 78% female and 49% African American, with an average age of 45 years, and average BMI of 34.3 kg/m2. There were trends for differences in weight loss among the four intervention groups. Participants in the intensive counseling plus self-monitoring smartphone group and less intensive counseling plus self-monitoring smartphone group tended to lose more weight than other groups (5.4 kg and 3.3 kg, resp.). Conclusions. The results of this pilot trial of a weight loss intervention provide preliminary support for using a smartphone application for self-monitoring as an adjunct to behavioral counseling.