Breakthrough RCT study shows efficacy of the Liva programme in producing sustained weight loss

A new study led by the Department of Public Health at the University of Southern Denmark and Liva Healthcare found that digital health coaching is more effective than traditional or non-digital care in ensuring sustained weight loss in people with type 2 diabetes and obesity over a 12-month period.

The randomised controlled study, published by JMIR (The Journal of Medical Internet Research), included 340 people who were suffering from obesity with and without type 2 diabetes. The participants were randomly assigned to one of two groups: an intervention group, which participated in the Liva programme and a so-called control group, which received usual care from general practitioners and healthcare professionals in their municipalities. Those under Liva’s care had access to the Liva app, which allowed them to set and track their goals and access a personal health coach who closely guided them through the 12-month programme.

The digital coaching intervention included a 1-hour face-to-face motivational interview, followed by digital coaching delivered via regular video messages and texts based on behaviour change psychology. After 12 months, data from 200 participants were analysed, and the results were astoundingly in favour of those in the intervention group, who lost an average of 4.5 kg, while those in the control group lost only 1.5kg. 

People with type 2 diabetes in the intervention group showed a 0.5% reduction in long-term blood sugar levels (HbA1c). Moreover, those in the Liva programme also demonstrated a mean reduction of 9.9 cm compared to a 4.5 cm reduction in the control group which was highly significant.

Study results

  • Mean weight loss of 4.5 kg in the intervention group compared to 1.5 kg in the control group
  • 38% of people in the intervention group lost more than 5% of body weight compared to 19% in the control group who lost the same amount
  • Mean BMI decreased significantly with a 1.5 kg/ BMI reduction in the intervention group compared to a 0.5 kg/ BMI reduction in the control group
  • Those in the intervention group with type 2 diabetes achieved 0.5% reduction in long-term blood sugar levels (HbA1c) compared to 0.4% for those in the control group
  • 9.9 cm mean reduction in waist circumference in the intervention group compared to a 4.5 cm reduction in the control group

Read the full study here.

Professor Jens Søndergaard of the University of Southern Denmark, Research Unit for General Practice, says

‘’This is a significant breakthrough for the future of healthcare which is increasingly headed toward a digital-based approach. This is one of the first studies showing significant and clinically relevant long-term weight loss for obese patients with and without type 2 diabetes in terms of doubling the number of patients losing more than 5% body weight long-term to 38%’’.

Ditte Hjorth Laursen, PhD and Head of Project Management and Research at Liva Healthcare, says

 ‘’Evidence generation is extremely important in e-health. I’m really pleased that we have such exceptional collaborators in the medical research field that make it possible to drive this kind of high-quality research’’.


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