The purpose of this pilot study was to evaluate the feasibility, acceptability, and effectiveness of integrating a wearable Fitbit device into a high-touch, multicomponent weight loss intervention at a local community aging center.
Results of this pilot are the first to demonstrate the integration of a commercial wearable into a community-based weight loss program in older adults with obesity residing in rural areas. Despite misconceptions that this demographic is unable to use technology, these results not only showed effectiveness in the primary study outcomes but also showed ease of use, satisfaction, and engagement with the intervention and the technology itself. These findings suggest that wearable fitness devices have the potential to be acceptable and subsequently used in health promotion interventions in older adults.
John A. Batsis, Curtis L. Petersen, Matthew M. Clark, Summer B. Cook, Francisco Lopez-Jimenez, Rima I. Al-Nimr, Dawna Pidgeon, David Kotz, Todd A. Mackenzie, and Steven J. Bartels. A Weight-Loss Intervention Augmented by a Wearable Device in Rural Older Adults with Obesity: A Feasibility Study.Journals of Gerontology – Series A: Biological Sciences and Medical Sciences, volume 76, number 1, pages 95–100. Oxford Academic, January 2021. doi:10.1093/gerona/glaa115. First published 8 May 2020.
Effective weight-management interventions require frequent interactions with specialised multidisciplinary teams of medical, nutritional and behavioural experts. However, barriers that exist in rural areas, such as transportation and a lack of specialised services, can prevent patients from receiving quality care. We recruited patients from the Dartmouth-Hitchcock Weight & Wellness Center into a single-arm, non-randomised study of a remotely delivered 16-week evidence-based healthy lifestyle programme. Every 4 weeks, participants completed surveys that included their willingness to pay for services like those experienced in the intervention based on commute and copay. Overall, those with a travel duration of 31–45 min had a greater willingness to trade in-person visits for telehealth than any other group. Participants who had a travel duration less than 15 min, 16–30 min and 46–60 min experienced a positive trend in willingness to have telehealth visits until Week 8, where there was a general negative trend in willingness to trade in-person visits for virtual. Participants believed that telemedicine was useful and helpful. In rural areas where patients travel 30–45 min a telemedicine-delivered, intensive weight-loss intervention may be a well-received and cost-effective way for both patients and the clinical care team to connect.
Vanessa K. Rauch, Meredith Roderka, Auden C. McClure, Aaron B. Weintraub, Kevin Curtis, David F. Kotz, Richard I. Rothstein, and John A. Batsis. Willingness to pay for a telemedicine-delivered healthy lifestyle programme. Journal of Telemedicine and Telecare, June 2020. Sage. DOI: 10.1177/1357633X20943337