Katherine Kim, M.P.H., MBA, iN Touch Principal Investigator, San Francisco State University
Sarah* was a 214-pound, pre-diabetic high school student who hated comments her peers made about her appearance. When she first met the iN Touch health coach, Sarah shared that she regularly ate fast food, drank soda and cut class. She wanted to focus on eating healthier and exercising. Sarah and the coach discussed different types of exercises and worked together to create backup plans in case she was unable to do her intended exercise.
Sarah planned to record her observations of daily living (ODLs) about her food, exercise, socializing and mood in TheCarrot.com’s iN Touch application a few times a week. She began recording her ODLs and found it was easy enough to do. She also used the notes section to intensively journal about her path to a healthier life. Sarah texted the health coach and took advantage of in-person coaching visits to talk about her challenges, strategies and progress. She also continued to see her regular physicians and nurses.
By the third month of participation she reported that she was cutting fewer classes. She now regularly power walks with hand weights and started taking dance classes over the summer. She has eliminated fast food, chips and sodas from her diet. Instead, she carries healthy snacks in her purse and drinks only water. At the end of 6 months of participation, Sarah has lost more than 20 pounds.
Sarah is one of the first wave of participants to complete the study this month. While we wait to collect our complete set of evaluation data, we looked at frequency of usage of the technology to see if we could find clues to Sarah’s success. To date, 33 participants have entered 1,794 ODLs, not including notes. (Note: most participants have not yet completed their six months.) Recording frequency varied, and individuals ranged from one ODL recorded to 230 ODLs recorded with an average of 54 ODLs recorded. Sarah recorded 117.
Sarah’s size is not the only change. “I have confidence,” she says, “I feel this is my year. Now if people want to come at me with drama, I’m just like, ‘I don’t care.’ I’m going across that stage. I’m going to a 4-year college. Twelfth grade is my serious year.” She says she plans to continue using her iPod Touch and free TheCarrot.com application to improve her health.
*Not her real name.