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JMIR Mhealth Uhealth


BACKGROUND: Self-monitoring is a cornerstone of behavioral lifestyle interventions for obesity and type 2 diabetes mellitus. Mobile technology has the potential to improve adherence to self-monitoring and patient outcomes. However, no study has tested the use of a smartphone to facilitate self-monitoring in overweight or obese adults with type 2 diabetes mellitus living in the underserved community.

OBJECTIVE: The aim of this study was to examine the feasibility of and compare preliminary efficacy of a behavioral lifestyle intervention using smartphone- or paper-based self-monitoring of multiple behaviors on weight loss and glycemic control in a sample of overweight or obese adults with type 2 diabetes mellitus living in underserved communities.

METHODS: We conducted a randomized controlled trial to examine the feasibility and preliminary efficacy of a behavioral lifestyle intervention. Overweight or obese patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus were recruited from an underserved minority community health center in Houston, Texas. They were randomly assigned to one of the three groups: (1) behavior intervention with smartphone-based self-monitoring, (2) behavior intervention with paper diary-based self-monitoring, and (3) usual care group. Both the mobile and paper groups received a total of 11 face-to-face group sessions in a 6-month intervention. The mobile group received an Android-based smartphone with 2 apps loaded to help them record their diet, physical activity, weight, and blood glucose, along with a connected glucometer, whereas the paper group used paper diaries for these recordings. Primary outcomes of the study included percentage weight loss and glycated hemoglobin (HbA

RESULTS: A total of 26 patients were enrolled: 11 in the mobile group, 9 in the paper group, and 6 in the control group. We had 92% (24/26) retention rate at 6 months. The sample is predominantly African Americans with an average age of 56.4 years and body mass index of 38.1. Participants lost an average of 2.73% (mobile group) and 0.13% (paper group) weight at 6 months, whereas the control group had an average 0.49% weight gain. Their HbA

CONCLUSIONS: Delivering a simplified behavioral lifestyle intervention using mobile health-based self-monitoring in an underserved community is feasible and acceptable and shows higher preliminary efficacy, as compared with paper-based self-monitoring. A full-scale randomized controlled trial is needed to confirm the findings in this pilot study.

TRIAL REGISTRATION: NCT02858648; (Archived by WebCite at


behavior change, comparative effectiveness trial, connected health, diabetes, lifestyle, mobile health, obesity, patient engagement, patient-generated health data, self-monitoring



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