Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Telephone Counseling A Valuable Weight Loss Maintenance Technique

“In comparison with weight-loss education alone, follow up sessions (both face-to-face and by telephone) appears to be a more effective method of weight-loss maintenance, according to an article released on November 24, 2008 in Archives of Internal Medicine, one of the JAMA/Archives journals. There is a well recognized epidemic of obesity in the United States, especially in certain areas and demographic groups. "Rural counties in the United States have higher rates of obesity, sedentary lifestyle and associated chronic diseases than non-rural areas, yet treatment of obesity in the rural population has received little research attention," write the authors. It has been shown previously that diet, exercise, and behavior change can result in significant weight loss, and that this loss can be improved through extended care programs such as clinic-based follow-up sessions. The authors point out that significant barriers prevent some individuals from accessing these programs: ‘However, in rural communities, distance to health care centers represents a significant barrier to ongoing care.’ The authors point out several benefits of telephone counseling. ‘The beneficial effects of extended-care counseling were mediated by greater adherence to behavioral weight management strategies, and cost analyses indicated that telephone counseling was less expensive than face-to-face intervention,’ they write. They conclude, recommending this intervention. ‘Our findings highlight the benefits of extended-care interventions and indicate that telephone counseling represents an effective and cost-efficient approach to the management of obesity in underserved rural settings,’ they write.”

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