Catherine, an overweight and prediabetic Parisian, is registered with Obecoach, an online “coaching” program to better combat excess weight. At the start of the week, she received a new mission on her smartphone: she had to enter her weight and waist circumference to track their progress. Everything is fine, she continues to lose a little. Yesterday, she had a videoconference appointment with the dietician at Bichat hospital at the same time as 6 other people. “I have trouble eating starchy foods and I prefer vegetables and proteins. The other participants gave me some advice, such as adding one or two spoons of rice to the ratatouille to increase my portion of starchy foods,” says this 50-year-old Parisian.
Developed by the nutrition team at Bichat Claude-Bernard hospital, led by Professor Boris Hansel, Obecoach has been offered to patients in the department for several months. But be careful, insists the doctor: “This is not a slimming program or a miracle diet application. It is comprehensive nutritional support for people who are obese or overweight associated with an anomaly such as prediabetes, hypertension or sleep apnea that can be improved by weight loss.
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Obecoach is based on the medical recommendations of the High Health Authority. Her goals ? Achieve a weight loss of 5 to 10%, improve eating habits and behavior, but also increase physical activity. It is a semi-automated program which offers “missions” around nutrition and physical activity in the form of texts to read, videos to watch, quizzes, etc. These missions are supplemented by appointments. you regularly by videoconference: a dietician or an adapted physical activity teacher from the Bichat hospital team lead workshops and answer questions from a small group of patients.
Maryline, who also participates in the program, particularly appreciates these meetings. She says that during one of them on the theme of "learning to spot the signs of satiety", she discovered that she did not identify the signals of hunger. “I only realize that I'm hungry when I'm on the verge of feeling unwell,” she says. Problem: she then throws herself at the food. The dietitian explained to her how to be alert to the warning signs and advised her to have a light snack when they occur.
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After a few months of missions and video meetings, the two participants in the Obecoach program are satisfied with this support. “I lost weight without starving myself. Especially thanks to gentle physical activity, I am more muscular and I find myself prettier,” comments Maryline. “It gave me confidence in myself. I can go to restaurants without worry because I know what I can eat there,” adds Catherine.
But while this user satisfaction is encouraging, it is not a guarantee of effectiveness. “This is why we are launching a rigorous scientific study of the Obecoach program,” says Professor Boris Hansel. For this, it is looking for 350 volunteers throughout France (to participate, go to the website www.obecoach.fr.) After a medical interview, the participants will be randomly divided into two groups: some will be registered for the Obecoach program, the others will benefit from an e-learning program with already existing tools (advice sheets, menu generator, videos and physical activity catalog). If the effectiveness of the program is proven, Professor Hansel wishes to deploy it on a large scale and request reimbursement from Health Insurance. “Obecoach is not intended to be an alternative to multidisciplinary care, which is the “gold standard”.” But it is difficult to offer it to all patients, “when we know that potentially nearly 30% of adults deserve support. Obecoach could therefore be an additional tool.