A Digital Health Weight Loss Program in 250,000 Individuals

Conor Senecal, Robert Jay Widmer, Beth R. Larrabee, Mariza De Andrade, Lilach O. Lerman, Amir Lerman, Francisco Lopez-Jimenez

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Importance. Obesity is a worsening epidemic worldwide. Effective and accessible weight loss programs to combat obesity on a large scale are warranted, but a need for frequent face-to-face care might impose a limitation. Objective. To evaluate whether individuals following a weight loss program based on a mobile application, wireless scale, and nutritional program but no face-to-face care can achieve clinically significant weight loss in a large cohort. Design. Retrospective observational analysis. Setting. China from October 2016 to December 2017. Participants. Mobile application users with a minimum of 2 weights (baseline and ≥35 days). Intervention. A commercial (Weijian Technologies) weight loss program consisting of a dietary replacement, self-monitoring using a wireless home scale, and frequent guidance via mobile application. Main Outcome. Mean weight change around 42, 60, 90, and 120 days after program initiation with subgroup analysis by gender, age, and frequency of use. Results. 251,718 individuals, with a mean age of 37.3 years (SD: 9.86) (79% female), were included with a mean weight loss of 4.3 kg (CI: ±0.02) and a mean follow-up of 120 days (SD: 76.8 days). Mean weight loss at 42, 60, 90, and 120 d was 4.1 kg (CI: ±0.02), 4.9 kg (CI: ±0.02), 5.6 kg (CI: ±0.03), and 5.4 kg (CI: ±0.04), respectively. At 120 d, 62.7% of participants had lost at least 5% of their initial weight. Both genders and all usage frequency tertiles showed statistically significant weight loss from baseline at each interval (P<0.001), and this loss was greater in men than in women (120 d: 6.5 vs. 5.2 kg; P<0.001). The frequency of recording (categorized as high-, medium-, or low-frequency users) was associated with greater weight loss when comparing high, medium, and low tertile use groups at all time intervals investigated (e.g., 120 d:-8.6,-5.6, and-2.2 kg, respectively; P<0.001). Conclusions. People following a commercially available hybrid weight loss program using a mobile application, wireless scale, and nutritional program without face-to-face interaction on average achieved clinically significant short- A nd midterm weight loss. These results support the implementation of comparable technologies for weight control in a large population.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number9497164
JournalJournal of Obesity
StatePublished - 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism


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