Comparison of a Telehealth-Based Intensive Treatment Program with a Rewarding App vs. On-Site Care for Youth with Obesity: A Historical Cohort Study

Khen Sela Peremen, Shay Maor, Amit Yaniv, Ishai Aloni, Tomer Ziv-Baran, Gal Dubnov-Raz*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

The recommended treatment for children with obesity includes numerous consultations by a multidisciplinary team, which is very cumbersome. Telehealth can assist in administering frequent care to children with obesity, yet the exact approaches and modes of delivery are still explored. During the COVID-19 pandemic, we developed an intensive telehealth-based treatment program that included a rewarding app for children with obesity. The aim of this study was to compare 6-month changes in body mass index (BMI) and body fat percent between participants in the program (n = 70) vs. children that underwent historic on-site care (n = 87). After 6 months, more participants in the telehealth group continued treatment compared to the on-site group (79% vs. 60%, p < 0.001). A significant reduction in the median BMI z-score (zBMI) was seen after 6 months in both groups (p < 0.01), with a similar proportion of zBMI reductions (71% in the telehealth group, 75% in the comparison group, p = 0.76). No statistically significant differences were found between the study groups in 6-month changes in BMI, zBMI, body fat percent or fat z-scores. We conclude that our telehealth program, which was executed during the COVID-19 pandemic, resulted in a high proportion of children with zBMI reduction that was comparable with the more personal on-site care.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1117
JournalChildren
Volume10
Issue number7
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 2023

Keywords

  • adiposity
  • overweight
  • pediatric obesity
  • telemedicine
  • weight loss

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