Background: Minorities have an increased incidence of early-onset, obesity-related cerebrovascular disease. Unfortunately, effective weight management in this vulnerable population has significant barriers. Objective: Our objective was to determine the feasibility and preliminary treatment effects of a smartphone-based weight loss intervention versus food journals to monitor dietary patterns in minority stroke patients. Methods: Swipe out Stroke was a pilot prospective randomized controlled trial with open blinded end point. Minority stroke patients and their caregivers were screened for participation using cluster enrollment. We used adaptive randomization for assignment to a behavior intervention with (1) smartphone-based self-monitoring or (2) food journal self-monitoring. The smartphone group used Lose it! to record meals and communicate with us. Reminder messages (first 30 days), weekly summaries plus reminder messages on missed days (days 31-90), and weekly summaries only (days 91-180) were sent via push notifications. The food journal group used paper diaries. Both groups received 4 in-person visits (baseline and 30, 90, and 180 days), culturally competent counseling, and educational materials. The primary outcome was reduced total body weight. Results: We enrolled 36 stroke patients (n=23, 64% African American; n=13, 36% Hispanic), 17 in the smartphone group, and 19 in the food journal group. Mean age was 54 (SD 9) years; mean body mass index was 35.7 (SD 5.7) kg/m2; education, employment status, and family history of stroke or obesity did not differ between the groups. Baseline rates of depression (Patient Health Questionnaire-9 [PHQ-9] score median 5.5, IQR 3.0-9.5), cognitive impairment (Montreal Cognitive Assessment score median 23.5, IQR 21-26), and inability to ambulate (5/36, 14% with modified Rankin Scale score 3) were similar. In total, 25 (69%) stroke survivors completed Swipe out Stroke (13/17 in the smartphone group, 12/19 in the food journal group); 1 participant in the smartphone group died. Median weight change at 180 days was 5.7 lb (IQR –2.4 to 8.0) in the smartphone group versus 6.4 lb (IQR –2.2 to 12.5; P=.77) in the food journal group. Depression was significantly lower at 30 days in the smartphone group than in the food journal group (PHQ-9 score 2 vs 8; P=.03). Clinically relevant depression rates remained in the zero to minimal range for the smartphone group compared with mild to moderate range in the food journal group at day 90 (PHQ-9 score 3.5 vs 4.5; P=.39) and day 180 (PHQ-9 score 3 vs 6; P=.12). Conclusions: In a population of obese minority stroke survivors, the use of a smartphone did not lead to a significant difference in weight change compared with keeping a food journal. The presence of baseline depression (19/36, 53%) was a confounding variable, which improved with app engagement. Future studies that include treatment of poststroke depression may positively influence intervention efficacy.
- Cognitive dysfunction
- Minority groups
- Outcome assessment, health care
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Health Informatics