(January 7, 2010 - Insidermedicine)
A portable device that provides real-time feedback on how quickly food is going down during a meal helps children and adolescents control their eating and lose weight better than standard lifestyle modification therapy, according to a trial published online ahead of print in the British Medical Journal.
Some consequences of unhealthy lifestyle habits in childhood include:
• an increased risk of death and disability in adulthood
• continuation of childhood overweight and obesity into adulthood
• increased risk of diabetes and cardiovascular risk at a younger age
Researchers from the Bristol Royal Hospital for Children and the University of Bristol tested a device known as the Mandometer among obese children and adolescents aged 9 to 17. The Mandometer is a portable computerized weighing scale. Users place their meal directly on the scale, and it provides real-time feedback as to how quickly the meal is consumed. The investigators randomly assigned over 100 participants to use this device for 12 months or to undergo standard lifestyle modification therapy.
After 12 months, those using the Mandometer had a body mass index (BMI) that was closer to a healthy BMI than those who did not use the device, and this difference was maintained for an additional six months after they stopped using the device. The Mandometer-users also had body fat levels closer to healthy levels. In addition, the Mandometer-users dropped the average size of their meals by 45g and saw improvements in their HDL or "healthy" cholesterol.
We had a chance to speak with Dr. Per Sodersten, one of the investigator's of this study, who offered some further insight.
Today's research demonstrates how retraining eating behavior through use of a computerized scale can help obese children and adolescents lose weight and develop more healthy eating habits better than standard approaches to weight loss.