Anonymous Smart phone app are best for children trying to lose weight: research

According to a recent research,

Overweight children lose more weight using anonymous smart phone apps instead of traditional support groups, researchers have suggested.


Doctors increasingly believe that in some cases of obesity that are caused by addiction to junk food, treatments based on Alcoholics Anonymous would help.

These anonymous social networks offer support without the fear of being judged, and hence allow the weight loss aspirant lose weight without any pressure.

But, the researchers found that when it comes to over-weight children and young people, smart phone apps were found to be more effective than anonymous websites.

The Research:

The latest info regarding the efficacy of anonymous Smartphone apps for over-weight children and young people, comes after the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (UK) issued new guidance recommending that the word ‘obese’ should not be used to label very overweight people because it is derogatory.

The research is conducted by Dr Robert Pretlow, Research Institute, eHealth International, Seattle, USA. Dr. Pretlow, who owns a children’s website and smart phone weight loss app, found children lost more weight using the app than the website.

While those using the anonymous website lost 7.4lbs or 3.4kgs compared with 10lbs or 4.5kgs on average among the children using the app. [Since the data, didn’t reveal the percentage of total bodyweight lost and how the tow groups were similar before the research, made the findings less compelling ].

In a four month preliminary study of the app involving 12 obese youths, aged from nine to 22 years, mean weight loss was 10lb.

Dr. Pretlow’s smartphone app for treatment of obesity “W8Loss2Go”, uses anonymous online social networking to help children break their addiction to problem foods by using buddies, peer groups, and mentors.

The findings were presented at the European Congress on Obesity in Lyon, France.

According to Dr Pretlow, the findings of his latest research emphasizes on the vital role played by support groups in the treatment of an addiction. The role is important irrespective of the fact, it’s open or anonymous (Does that mean parents adopting a more approving and less judgmental approach to their child’s obesity? The Answer is Yes).

But Dr. Pretlow advises remaining anonymous.

How Anonymous Group Support or Social Networks Help:

1) Helps the obese person tolerate withdrawal from problem foods and adds motivation to keep going.

2) Re-addiction is prevented by socially learning to cope with life without turning to food.

3) Accepting one’s problems, even anonymously. Helps the person shed the associated negativity. It is an act of Self approval.

4) Although the weight loss from these Anonymous Group Support or Social Networks, may not as much as face-to-face weight loss programs. But still price advantage in the two methods is always an attraction. Another added advantage is, one can return to the group for guidance any time (sometimes even after months).