A study released today points to a simple, but effective, tool in the fight against obesity. That tool is a simple phone call. The study also used e-mail with one of the focus groups, but it proved less successful, though still positive.
The study was conducted with 1400 Dutch overweight workers. It suggests that lifestyle advice conducted via phone or e-mail is especially good for those unwilling to seek face-to-face counseling to deal with their weight problems.
Volunteers were randomly assigned into one of three different control groups. One had no counseling, one that received phone counseling, and one sent e-mail counseling.
The advice they were given included encouragement to keep fit. Suggestions included taking a walk at lunch, and eating a healthy diet. There were no included weight-loss targets.
The results were telling. The group receiving the phone counseling lost 3.3 pounds more, and those receiving e-mail counseling lost only 1 pound more, than those in the group that received neither form of counseling.
Sure, it’s only a modest amount of weight loss, but the key was the amount of pressure. They didn’t put any pressure on people to make big changes.