Weekly phone calls from a lifestyle coach helped inactive, obese middle-aged men and women achieve weight loss goals over a 12-week period, according to a pilot study published in Patient Education and Counseling (2009; Nov. 10). Researchers from the Veterans Affairs [VA] Ann Arbor Healthcare System in Michigan wanted to determine whether a phone-based program of self-management for weight loss would be feasible to deliver and would help participants achieve clinically significant weight loss.
Investigators recruited a single group of participants to test the Aspiring to Lifelong Health Program [ASPIRE], a small-changes approach that uses phone-based follow-up. Fourteen sedentary, obese adults aged 41–66 years received a pedometer, food log and treatment manual outlining the small-changes program. A lifestyle coach phoned each participant once a week to review the prior week’s goals and to develop new ones. Investigators measured the subjects’ weight at the beginning of the study and after 12 weeks of program participation.
Data analysis showed that participants increased their intake of fruits and vegetables and that each subject lost approximately 8 pounds, a statistically significant amount. Study authors concluded that the telephone-based program had the potential to reduce rates of overweight and obesity among veterans. The researchers recommended conducting a larger-scale clinical trial with a longer-term follow-up program.