Noom outperforms gold standard clinical weight loss program

by | Nov 9, 2015

A randomized controlled trial, or RCT, is a simple yet powerful test considered to be the gold-standard for clinical trials. Because of our belief in the power of mHealth to reduce incidences of pre-chronic and chronic diseases, Noom recently completed an IRB-approved RCT comparing the efficacy of Noom’s behavior change platform to the traditional behavioral weight loss intervention, LEARN, a program developed by Dr. Kelly Brownell, a Dean at Duke University. The goal of the study was to evaluate the effectiveness of Noom as an affordable and accessible mobile alternative to the existing treatments aimed at solving the rapidly growing obesity epidemic.

The study found that 3 times more people lost a significant amount of weight (more than 15 lbs.) using the Noom behavior change platform compared to those who used the LEARN intervention.

These results come at a pivotal moment in the obesity epidemic. More than one-third of adults in the United States are obese and that number continues to climb. Obesity related-illnesses include heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, and certain types of cancer, all of which account for some of the leading causes of preventable death. Aside from the harrowing human toll, obesity costs the United States alone $300 billion per year. While these statistics are distressing, there is still hope to combat this disease. Losing 5-10% of body weight can significantly reduce a participant’s risk of heart-disease, stroke, and type 2 diabetes.

During the study, participants were placed in either a digital Noom group or were using the traditional book-based intervention and gold standard for weight loss interventions, LEARN. The study randomized a total of 101 participants with a BMI of at least 25 (considered overweight to obese) into control and treatment groups. Participants in the control group were given the LEARN program, which stands for Lifestyle, Exercise, Attitudes, Relationships, Nutrition. The treatment group received Noom’s behavior change mobile application which included short-form educational content, food-logging, and exercise logging among other low and high-touch nudges via the app.

Additional results from the study found that average weight loss in the Noom group was 6.5 lbs. and 4.7 lbs. in the control group; 20% of participants in the Noom group lost more than 10 lbs. vs. 15% in the control; and 14% of participants in the Noom group more than 12 lbs. vs. 9% in control.

“There is a growing avalanche of pre-chronic and chronic disease incidence, which requires interventions that address the underlying causes of disease. Weight loss and lifestyle modification play an important role in reducing that overall risk,” said Dr. Kit Farr, Chief Medical Officer at Noom. Platforms like Noom offer a significant opportunity to enhance and elevate behavior change programs by delivering meaningful health outcomes across larger populations of people. Noom dynamically leverages a toolkit of clinically validated approaches to guide and support people along a path to lasting behavior change.”

Download the RCT results here.