NUH study finds app can help liver disease patients lose weight, Latest Singapore News - The New Paper

NUH study finds app can help liver disease patients lose weight

This article is more than 12 months old

A study by National University Hospital (NUH) found that a mobile app has helped adults with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) lose weight through lifestyle changes.

Called Nutritionist Buddy (nBuddy), the app also helped patients reduce their  blood pressure, and liver enzymes.

NUH said that NAFLD is becoming more prevalent, with 20 to 30 per cent of adults in Asia diagnosed with the disease.

NAFLD is characterised by excessive accumulation of fat in the liver, not directly caused by alcohol consumption.

The disease’s rise is increasingly being recognised as a major cause of morbidity and mortality. 

Weight loss is recommended for patients who are at high risk or have been diagnosed with NAFLD, but this can be difficult to achieve.

However, NUH said that patients in their clinical trial who used nBuddy were five times more likely to achieve at least a weight loss of 5 per cent, as compared to patients who only received standard care and dietary and lifestyle advice. 

The clinical trial was conducted between July 2017 and November 2019, with 108 patients taking part.

The app was conceptualised by Dr Lim Su Lin, Chief Dietitian at NUH, and developed by Verita Analytics. 

It includes individualistic caloric goals, and daily, weekly, and monthly reports on weight, calorie intake, and steps taken.

It can also evaluate the suitability of food choices and provide feedback, creating a list of healthier alternatives.

Dietitians can also monitor the users’ progress to give feedback and encouragement.

Dr Lim said this is particularly relevant with safe distancing measures in place throughout the Covid-19 pandemic.

She said: “It may be a perfect time for healthcare professionals to promote alternative means of remotely managing our population with chronic diseases, for example using a clinically proven mobile app, supporting patients virtually, and empowering them to self-monitor and manage their diet and lifestyle.”