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WEDNESDAY, Nov. 4, 2020 (HealthDay News) — Combining population health management with an online program can aid primary care patients in achieving small, but statistically significant weight loss at 12 months, according to a study published in the Nov. 3 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Heather J. Baer, Sc.D., from the Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, and colleagues evaluated the effectiveness of an online weight management program plus population health management (298 patients) versus an online program only (216 patients) or usual care (326 patients). Electronic health records were used to measure weight change at 12 months among the primary care participants with overweight or obesity and hypertension or type 2 diabetes.

The researchers observed significant differences in mean weight change at 12 months: usual care, −1.2 kg; online program only, −1.9 kg; and combined intervention, −3.1 kg. Findings were similar at 18 months for the mean weight change: usual care, −1.9 kg; online only, −1.1 kg; and combined intervention −2.8 kg.

“To our knowledge, this is the first study to demonstrate that an online program can be integrated with existing population health management support delivered by nonclinical staff without any specialized training in nutrition or weight counseling and be implemented in routine primary care,” the authors write.

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