Hospital to study benefits of weight-loss app for new mothers

University Hospitals MacDonald Women's Hospital in Cleveland has launched a new study to examine whether a smartphone app can help postpartum women return to their pre-pregnancy weight, according to a recent Cleveland Plain Dealer article. The app--Lose It!, developed by Boston-based FitNow--tracks calorie intake from restaurant and home-cooked meals, as well as calories burned by exercise.

Justin Lappen, assistant director of the OB-GYN residency program at University Hospitals, chose the app for the study because it is user-friendly and free. Over the next six months, Lappen plans to enroll 90 women between 18 and 40 who recently have given birth, have a body mass index of at least 30, and own an Android or iPhone smartphone.

The women then will be divided into three groups: One group will receive standard postpartum care, which includes a regular physician visit and diet and nutrition counseling; a second group will receive standard care, plus visits to a nutritionist; a third group will receive the resources of the first two groups, and will use the Lose It! app. The weight of participants in the study will be monitored for three months; if the data shows a benefit, the study will be expanded.

The Lose It! app, which first was released in 2008, previously has been used in physician pilot programs to track patients' eating habits and in partnership with Boston-area YMCAs, according to Patrick Wetherille, FitNow's vice president of marketing. Wetherille said that women, who make up about two-thirds of Lose It! users, have lost weight using the app, although he has only heard anecdotally that women have had success getting rid of their pregnancy weight.

According to the Mayo Clinic, weight loss after pregnancy takes time and is possible by making wise choices such as concentrating on eating a healthy diet and including physical activity in a daily routine. To that end, the Lose It! app helps women to set goals for weight loss, exercise, macronutrient intake, blood pressure, and sleep, among others.

An article published in Forbes in August ranked Lose It! as the top weight-loss app currently available, highlighting its connection to an online support community. 

To learn more:
- read the Plain Dealer article