JMIR mHealth and uHealth (Mar 2019)

Get Healthy, Stay Healthy: Evaluation of the Maintenance of Lifestyle Changes Six Months After an Extended Contact Intervention

  • Fjeldsoe, Brianna S,
  • Goode, Ana D,
  • Phongsavan, Philayrath,
  • Bauman, Adrian,
  • Maher, Genevieve,
  • Winkler, Elisabeth,
  • Job, Jennifer,
  • Eakin, Elizabeth G

Journal volume & issue
Vol. 7, no. 3
p. e11070


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BackgroundExtended intervention contact after an initial, intensive intervention is becoming accepted as best practice in behavioral weight control interventions. Whether extended contact mitigates weight regain in the longer term or it simply delays weight regain until after the extended intervention contact ceases is not clear. ObjectiveThis study aimed to evaluate, in multiple ways, maintenance of weight, diet, and physical activity outcomes following Get Healthy, Stay Healthy (GHSH), a text message–delivered extended contact intervention. MethodsClients completing the Get Healthy Service (GHS) lifestyle telephone coaching program were randomized to receive GHSH (n=114) or standard care (no additional contact, n=114) and were assessed at baseline (following completion of GHS), 6 months (following completion of GHSH), and 12 months (noncontact maintenance follow-up). At all 3 assessments, participants self-reported their body weight, waist circumference, physical activity (walking and moderate and vigorous sessions/week), and dietary behaviors (fruit and vegetable serves/day, cups of sweetened drinks per day, takeaway meals per week; fat, fiber, and total indices from the Fat and Fiber Behavior Questionnaire). Moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA) was also assessed via accelerometry. Maintenance was examined multiple ways: (1) using traditional methods to assess and compare group averages after some period of noncontact (ie, at 12 months), (2) using a novel approach to assess and compare group average changes over the first 6 months of noncontact, and (3) exploring individual participant changes (increase/decrease/no change) over the first 6 months of noncontact. ResultsRetention over the 12-month trial was high (92.5%, 211/228). Participants had a mean (SD) age of 53.4 (SD 12.3) years and a baseline body mass index of 29.2 (SD 5.9) kg/m2. The between-group differences detected at 6 months were still present and statistically significant at 12 months for bodyweight (−1.33 kg [−2.61 to −0.05]) and accelerometer-assessed MVPA (24.9 min/week [5.8-44.0]). None of the other outcomes were significantly favored compared with the control group at 12 months. Changes over their first 6 months of noncontact for the GHSH group were significantly better than the control group in terms of accelerometer-measured MVPA and self-reported moderate activity (other differences between the groups were all nonsignificant). In addition to the maintenance seen in the group averages, most intervention participants had maintained their behavioral outcomes during the first 6 months of noncontact. ConclusionsThe GHSH participants were better off relative to where they were initially, and relative to their counterparts, not receiving extended contact in terms of MVPA. However, based on the between-group difference in bodyweight over the first 6 months of noncontact, GHSH does appear to simply delay the inevitable weight regain. However, this delay in weight regain, coupled with sustained improvements in MVPA, has public health benefits. Trial RegistrationAustralian New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry ACTRN12613000949785; au/Trial/Registration/TrialReview.aspx?id=364821&isReview=true