HealthDay News — Compared with usual care, technology-assisted weight loss interventions in the primary-care setting help patients achieve more weight loss, according to researchers.

“The United States Preventive Services Task Force recommends screening for and treating obesity. However, there are many barriers to successfully treating obesity in primary care,” explained David Levine, MD, of New York University, and colleagues in the Journal of General Internal Medicine.

To assess the impact of technology-assisted weight loss interventions, the inspectors conducted a systematic literature review to identify randomized controlled trials employing technology-assisted weight loss interventions specifically tested in primary-care settings.

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In the 16 included trials, 12 interventions achieved weight loss compared with controls. In those studies, 5% to 45% of patients lost at least 5% of baseline weight. Trial duration ranged from three to 36 months, and attrition ranged from 6% to 80%, reported the investigators. At least one year of follow-up was included in 10 studies.

Interventions used medical doctors (44%), web-based applications (63%) and self-monitoring (81%). Interventions that included a clinician component appeared to promote more weight loss compared with fully automated interventions. Publicly available technologies were only evaluated in two studies.

“Despite occurring in PC, studies often fall short in utilizing pragmatic methodology and rarely provide publicly available technology,” wrote the researchers. “Longitudinal, pragmatic, interdisciplinary, and open-source interventions are needed.”


  1. Levine D et al. Journal of General Internal Medicine. 2014; doi: 10.1007/s11606-014-2987-6