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Computerized nag fights obesity

Can a computerized nag help fight the obesity epidemic? A new British study indicates it could.

Julian Hamilton-Shield at the Bristol Royal Hospital for Children and colleagues studied 106 obese children and teenagers. Half the group received a Mandometer, a device developed at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm.

The Mandometer is a portable, computerized scale that tracks portion size and the speed at which people eat. It's designed to retrain people to eat less and more slowly by providing real-time feedback during meals. A graph shows the rate at which food disappears from the plate compared to how fast it should disappear based on instructions from a food therapist.

Both groups were encouraged to exercise at least an hour a day and eat a balanced diet.

After a year, those who used the Mandometer had significantly lower body mass and body fat scores than those who did not. In addition, they tended to eat less and more slowly. They also had higher levels of so-called "good cholesterol."

While the device needs more study, the researchers say the findings, reported in the British Medical Journal, suggest it could offer a useful tool to help people eat better and lose weight.

By Rob Stein  |  January 6, 2010; 7:00 AM ET
 
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Comments

Krimeny, an article on a computerized food cop on the same day that WaPo investigated the quality of the IRS's customer service - I've lost my appetite, already!

Posted by: douglaslbarber | January 6, 2010 7:59 PM | Report abuse

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