The effects of a telephone-based intervention on weight loss

Wendy L Hellerstedt, Robert W Jeffery

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

41 Scopus citations


Purpose. To evaluate minimal-contact and telephone-assisted weight-loss programs for overweight persons. Design. Participants were randomized to a minimal-contact group or one of two telephone assisted weight-loss groups. All participants attended two group-based behavioral weight-loss classes and received written educational materials and diaries. For the subsequent 24 weeks, the minimal-contact group received no contact and the telephone- assisted group members received weekly calls to monitor their weight, food intake, and exercise. Setting. Baseline educational sessions and data collection were conducted at a university site. Subjects. Sixty-four healthy subjects (4 men) who were from 120% to 150% of ideal weight and were 25 to 55 years of age participated in the study. Measures. The major outcome of interest was change in measured weight over a 24-week period. Data on calories expended in exercise, dietary intake, and demographics were also gathered at baseline and 24 weeks. Results. Weight loss did not differ significantly by treatment. Unexpectedly, the minimal contact group lost almost twice as much weight as the telephone-assisted groups (12.7 vs 7.9 lb). Conclusions. There appears to be an audience for low-contact and telephone-assisted weight-loss programs, and such programs can be delivered easily. However, because the data show only modest weight-loss success, work should continue to identify the optimal content and design of such interventions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)177-182
Number of pages6
JournalAmerican Journal of Health Promotion
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1997


  • Intervention
  • Minimal Contact
  • Obesity
  • Weight Loss


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