An Addiction-Based Mobile Health Weight Loss Intervention With Coaching
New and creative approaches are needed to address childhood obesity. Current strategies result in suboptimal outcomes and are intensive and costly. It has been theorized that overeating, may have addictive qualities, although few weight management interventions have tested therapeutic techniques founded on addiction medicine principles, such as, withdrawal, tolerance and craving control1, 2. A pilot study utilizing an addiction model based mobile health (mHealth) weight-loss intervention in adolescents showed that the app intervention reduced BMI Z-score (zBMI) to a greater extent than youth participating in an in-clinic multidisciplinary weight management intervention, and appeared to be a cost-effective, labor efficient method for adolescent weight management.The proposed multi-site randomized control trial (RCT) will test the effectiveness of an addiction-based weight loss intervention, embodied first as a smartphone app with telephone coaching and second as an identical approach phone-coaching alone intervention compared to age matched controls participating in an in-clinic weight management interventions in a larger sample of economically, racially and ethnically diverse adolescents (ages 14-18). One hundred and eighty adolescents will be recruited from pediatric interdisciplinary weight management clinics operating out of five different hospital systems in Southern California and through targeted mailing to 40 ethnically, racially and economically diverse neighborhoods in Los Angeles County. The adolescents will be randomized 1:1 via stratified block randomization to either receive 1) interactive addiction model based mobile health (mHealth) weight-loss intervention with personalized phone-coaching (AppCoach), 2) interactive addiction model based mHealth weight-loss intervention alone (App) or 3) Multidisciplinary in-clinic weight management program (Clinic). Assessment of the intervention's effect on zBMI and percent over the 95th percentile (%BMIp95), fasting metabolic parameters, addictive eating habits, executive function, and motivation for change will be obtained at enrollment, 3, 6, 12 and 18 months (1 year post intervention follow up). In addition, a real-life economic analysis (cost, cost-saving and non-monetary benefits) analysis will be completed comparing AppCoach to 1) App and 2) Clinic. We will further explore whether primary and secondary outcomes differ by race and whether race moderates the relationship between initial intervention efficacy and prolonged weight maintenance.
- Age 14-18 years
- Body mass index [BMI] ≥85th percentile for age and gender
- Concurrent participation in an alternative weight loss intervention
- Blood pressure > 99th percentile for age, gender, and height
- Known poorly controlled psychiatric illness and/or developmental delay
- Participants Inability to read English