HealthDay News — For individuals in rural communities, extended care for obesity management via individual telephone counseling reduces weight regain, according to a study published online June 15 in JAMA Network Open.

Michael G. Perri, Ph.D., from the University of Florida in Gainesville, and colleagues examined the effectiveness of extended care programs for obesity management delivered remotely in rural communities. A total of 445 individuals who initiated a four-month lifestyle intervention qualified for randomization and were assigned to extended care delivered via individual or group telephone counseling or an education control program delivered via email (149, 143, and 153 participants, respectively).

The researchers found that after the initial intervention, mean weight loss was 8.3 kg. Mean weight regain at 22-month follow-up was 2.3, 2.8, and 4.1 kg in the individual telephone counseling group, the group telephone counseling group, and the education control group, respectively; weight regain was significantly smaller in the individual telephone counseling group versus the control group. The proportion of participants achieving at least 10 percent weight reductions was larger in the individual telephone counseling group versus the control group (31.5 versus 19.1 percent).

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“Lifestyle treatment continues to be challenged by the maintenance problem and by limited data demonstrating effective dissemination into low-resource communities,” the authors write. “The results from this randomized clinical trial inform each of these limitations.”

One author disclosed financial ties to the medical device industry.

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