A text messaging-assisted randomized lifestyle weight loss clinical trial among overweight adults in Beijing.


Lin PH, Wang Y, Levine E, Askew S, Lin S, Chang C, Sun J, Foley P, Wang H, Li X, Bennett GG.


doi: 10.1002/oby.20686.


We examined the impact of a text messaging-assisted lifestyle weight loss intervention on weight change among overweight and obese adults in Beijing, China.


It was a 6-month randomized two arm clinical trial. The control group received a brief advice session after randomization. The intervention group received three group sessions, five coaching calls, and a daily text message prompting participants to follow predetermined lifestyle goals.


A total of 123 participants were randomized. At 6 months, controls gained 0.24 ± 0.28 kg (0.21% ± 0.38%) (NS) while intervention participants lost 1.6 ± 0.28 kg (2.31% ± 0.38%) (p < 0.0001). Intervention participants decreased waist circumference (WC) (-2.69 ± 0.43 cm, p < 0.0001), percent body fat (%BF) (-0.66% ± 0.19%, p = 0.0007), and systolic/diastolic blood pressure (SBP/DBP) significantly (-1.71 ± 1.12/-3.24 ± 0.87 mmHg), while the controls had no change in WC and %BF and increased SBP/DBP by 2.43 ± 1.14/1.20 ± 0.88 mmHg (between groups: p = 0.01/p = 0.0004).


This text message-assisted lifestyle intervention was effective in reducing weight, WC, %BF, and improving BP. Coupled with the scalable feature of the intervention, this finding is intriguing in light of the potential reach of the intervention for countries like China where mobile phone penetration is high and the obesity rate continues to rise.