Are you looking for effective ways to help clients maintain weight loss? Telephone counseling is as effective as face-to-face counseling and more effective than education alone, according to a study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine (2008; 168 , 2347–54).
Scientists from the University of Florida, Gainesville, wanted to identify ways that would help people in rural communities—who had limited access to healthcare services—to lose weight and keep it off. The researchers conducted a randomized trial involving 234 obese women, ages 50–75, who had completed a 6-month weight loss program and had lost an average of 22 pounds each. The women were assigned to one of three 6-month follow-up care programs: biweekly telephone counseling, biweekly face-to-face counseling or biweekly newsletters with weight management tips. After 6 months, women in the counseling groups had regained an average of 2.6 pounds, whereas women in the education group had regained an average of 8.1 pounds. What’s more, telephone counseling was less expensive than the face-to-face intervention, yet just as effective.