New UNMC study will use smartphones to help rural men lose weight

Aug. 6, 2018, 3:26 a.m. ·

Researchers at the University Of Nebraska Medical Center College Of Nursing Northern Division in Norfolk are looking to smartphones to help rural men lose weight.

With the help of the Northeast Nebraska Public Health Department, UNMC researchers will use two smartphone-based approaches to see which is most effective in helping rural men lose weight.

The study will break participants into two groups. One group will receive a premium version of a self-monitoring app, daily text messages and a smart scale, which will allow them to track their weight over time. The other group will only receive the basic version of the app.

Dr. Christine Eisenhauer, the study’s principal investigator, said there is an increased prevalence of men being overweight or obese during midlife.

“Rural, midlife men age 40 to 69, they are currently exhibiting rising rates of cardiovascular disease and in the state of Nebraska, 69 percent are actually overweight or obese,” Eisenhauer said in a news release. “We are trying to address this issue by developing a preventative health resource for rural men that’s accessible and acceptable to them.”

Researchers are recruiting 80 men between the age of 40-69 with a body mass index of 28 or higher with access to a smartphone for the study.

Participants will self-monitor their weight, eating and activity for three months, and will evaluate the long-term effectiveness of the app after six months.

“This study is designed specifically with input of northeast Nebraska men and will reflect their preferences for mobile health technologies that fit their unique lifestyle and workplace needs,” Eisenhauer said. “Small changes in diet and physical activity can significantly decrease weight and lower health risks.”

“Losing weight can be a daunting task,” said Julie Rother, NPHD director, in a news release. “We all know the impact overweight and obesity have on our health; identifying ways to encourage and support people as they lose weight is an important step toward improving personal and community health.”