Technology- and Phone-Based Weight Loss Intervention

Pilot RCT in Women at Elevated Breast Cancer Risk
Published:September 01, 2016DOI:


      For women with an increased breast cancer risk, reducing excess weight and increasing physical activity are believed to be important approaches for reducing their risk. This study tested a weight loss intervention that combined commercially available technology-based self-monitoring tools with individualized phone calls.


      Women were randomized to a weight loss intervention arm (n=36) or a usual care arm (n=18).


      Participants were women with a BMI ≥ 27.5 kg/m2 and elevated breast cancer risk recruited from the mammography clinic at the Moores Cancer Center at the University of California San Diego.


      Intervention participants used the MyFitnessPal website and phone app to monitor diet and a Fitbit to monitor physical activity. Participants received 12 standardized coaching calls with trained counselors over 6 months. Usual care participants received the U.S. Dietary Guidelines for Americans at baseline and two brief calls over the 6 months.

      Main outcome measures

      Weight and accelerometer-measured physical activity were assessed at baseline and 6 months. Data were collected in San Diego, CA, from 2012 to 2014 and analyzed in 2015.


      Participants (n=54) had a mean age of 59.5 (SD=5.6) years, BMI of 31.9 (SD=3.5), and a mean Gail Model score of 2.5 (SD=1.4). At 6 months, intervention participants had lost significantly more weight (4.4 kg vs 0.8 kg, p=0.004) and a greater percentage of starting weight (5.3% vs 1.0%, p=0.005) than usual care participants. Across arms, greater increases in moderate-to-vigorous physical activity resulted in greater weight loss (p=0.01).


      Combining technology-based self-monitoring tools with phone counseling supported weight loss over 6 months in women at increased risk for breast cancer.
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