Podcasts May Help in Weight Loss Battle

Study finds social cognitive theory-based podcasts improve weight loss results
By Jane Parry
HealthDay Reporter

THURSDAY, Oct. 15 (HealthDay News) -- Using a social cognitive theory-based podcast can help overweight people lose weight, according to a study published in the October issue of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.

Gabrielle M. Turner-McGrievy, Ph.D., a registered dietician from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, conducted a study of 78 men and women with a body mass index of 25 to 40 kg/m2, of whom 37 were randomized to receive 24 episodes of an existing podcast, while 41 received 24 episodes of a podcast based on social cognitive theory. The study lasted for 12 weeks and participants were weighed at baseline and at follow-up.

Among the enhanced podcast group, there was a 2.9 kg decrease in weight versus 0.3 kg for the control group, and body mass index was reduced by 1.0 kg/m2 versus 0.1 kg/m2 for the controls, the researchers discovered. Weight-loss-related knowledge was also greater in the intervention group than the control group.

"Finding new and innovative ways to reach people who wish to lose weight is important," the authors write. "This study demonstrated that podcasts can be more effective when they are theory based and carefully designed to promote cognitive processing and elaboration of information. Future studies should find ways to encourage participants to be more mobile while listening to the podcasts -- such as encouraging participants to listen to the podcasts on portable players during exercise -- in order to increase physical activity."

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