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Trials. 2017 Apr 18;18(1):180. doi: 10.1186/s13063-017-1907-6.

Do images of a personalised future body shape help with weight loss? A randomised controlled study.

Author information

1
Department of Medical Education, Curtin University, Perth, WA, 3845, Australia. gemma.ossolinski@gmail.com.
2
Melbourne Clinical School, School of Medicine Sydney, The University of Notre Dame Australia, Werribee, VIC, Australia.
3
Faculty of Health Sciences, Curtin University, Perth, WA, Australia.
4
School of Occupational Therapy and Social Work and School of Pharmacy, Curtin University, Perth, WA, Australia.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

This randomised controlled study evaluated a computer-generated future self-image as a personalised, visual motivational tool for weight loss in adults.

METHODS:

One hundred and forty-five people (age 18-79 years) with a Body Mass Index (BMI) of at least 25 kg/m2 were randomised to receive a hard copy future self-image at recruitment (early image) or after 8 weeks (delayed image). Participants received general healthy lifestyle information at recruitment and were weighed at 4-weekly intervals for 24 weeks. The image was created using an iPad app called 'Future Me'. A second randomisation at 16 weeks allocated either an additional future self-image or no additional image.

RESULTS:

Seventy-four participants were allocated to receive their image at commencement, and 71 to the delayed-image group. Regarding to weight loss, the delayed-image group did consistently better in all analyses. Twenty-four recruits were deemed non-starters, comprising 15 (21%) in the delayed-image group and 9 (12%) in the early-image group (χ2(1) = 2.1, p = 0.15). At 24 weeks there was a significant change in weight overall (p < 0.0001), and a difference in rate of change between groups (delayed-image group: -0.60 kg, early-image group: -0.42 kg, p = 0.01). Men lost weight faster than women. The group into which participants were allocated at week 16 (second image or not) appeared not to influence the outcome (p = 0.31). Analysis of all completers and withdrawals showed a strong trend over time (p < 0.0001), and a difference in rate of change between groups (delayed-image: -0.50 kg, early-image: -0.27 kg, p = 0.0008).

CONCLUSION:

One in five participants in the delayed-image group completing the 24-week intervention achieved a clinically significant weight loss, having received only future self-images and general lifestyle advice. Timing the provision of future self-images appears to be significant, and promising for future research to clarify their efficacy.

TRIAL REGISTRATION:

Australian Clinical Trials Registry, identifier: ACTRN12613000883718 . Registered on 8 August 2013.

KEYWORDS:

Health promotion; Intervention study; Medical informatics applications; Obesity; Weight loss

PMID:
28420417
PMCID:
PMC5395810
DOI:
10.1186/s13063-017-1907-6
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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