MAY 10, 2019

Study Spotlight: Daily24 Study

Overweight and obesity are established risk factors for cardiovascular disease. Successful weight loss strategies have focused on reducing calories and modifying dietary composition (e.g. low calorie, low fat), but few studies have assessed the impact of timing of eating on weight. In particular, no population-based studies have developed real-time measurement tools to assess timing of eating, or examined the effect of intervals between meals on weight change and cardiometabolic outcomes. Findings from the Daily24 Study will help us to understand how the timing of our eating relates to these outcomes.

Sponsored by the American Heart Association as a part of the Johns Hopkins Strategically Focused Obesity Research Network (SFORN), the Daily24 Study is one of three linked projects at studying the impact of time-restricted feeding on obesity and cardiometabolic health. While the other two projects are a basic science and a clinical (feeding) study, the Daily24 Study is recruiting patients to join a population-based cohort study. Led by Wendy Bennett, MD, MPH, with partnership from three PaTH Network sites: Johns Hopkins, the University of Pittsburgh (site PI: Dr. Kathleen McTigue) and Geisinger (Dr. Michelle Lent), the study will run through 2021.

Because most people report access to a smartphone, the study team developed a mobile application called Daily24 to capture timing of eating and sleeping “in the moment.” To ensure the app is simple to use, the Daily24 study team received feedback from patients at all stages of the study. In particular, meetings with a stakeholder group (including providers, patients, community members, and technology specialists) were held to improve usability and functionality of the App and the study. On top of these stakeholder meetings, an interview study was conducted with 38 participants who used the App for 1 week. They met with the study team to discuss their impressions using the app, recommend features that could enhance the user experience, and go over the barriers to accessing and consistently using Daily24. Based on the feedback from these interviews, the study team made significant improvements to the design of the app to further encourage participant engagement.

Now that the Daily24 team has tested and improved the Daily24 App, the population study is ready for launch. The study is recruiting patients using email and the electronic health record’s patient portal (MyChart). Study participants are asked to download the Daily24 App and use it over a period of six months. They use the app to track their timing of their eating and sleeping as much as possible. Specifically, they will input when they have any meals and snacks, a rough estimate of how much they ate, and the times that they fall asleep and wake up. In addition to the Daily24 App, the study team will also ask participants to complete online surveys and will review electronic medical record data to get the most up to date weight measurements.

Dr. Bennett, as lead investigator of the Daily24 study, is excited to see how participants respond to using Daily24 and what the study will find, saying, "We believe that our patients will be interested in contributing to this study. People are interested in technology and phone Apps and how their timing of eating affects their health. Our study was developed to be easy for patients to join, and we welcome feedback about the App to continue to improve it for future studies. We hope that results from our study will help us understand more about the “when” of eating and how it affects our weight and overall heart health."

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