The study was undertaken to develop and to assess the impact of a Decision Support System on weight management and physical fitness. An appraisal of strategies adopted for weight management by different health centers of Udaipur city was done with the help of a structured interview schedule. On the basis of assessed need and after thoroughly reviewing literature a user friendly Decision Support System (DSS) was developed having five main sections viz. Create Profile, Obesity, Underweight, Fitness and Food exchange list. The developed DSS was providing facilities of createing profile, tracking meal and activity, suggesting nutritional and exercise requirements, menu planning, food diary and revising plan. The DSS also consisted of information on obesity, underweight physical fitness and an exhaustive food exchange list. The developed DSS was got evaluated by a panel of members consisting of endocrinologists, nutritionists and diet counselors. An evaluation sheet was developed consisting of suitable criteria of judgment. Reports generated by DSS were evaluated in terms of accuracy, scoring of DSS was done on five point scale. Suggestions given by the experts were penned down and the entire DSS was modified in light of suggestions then the DSS was reevaluated by the same panel of experts The scores of the second evaluation improved in almost all the sections of the DSS. The DSS received good to very good rank in all five sections by the experts. To assess the impact of developed and evaluated DSS, twenty two obese subjects were purposively selected from the religious centers of Udaipur city. An interview schedule was developed to collect relevant information. The nutritional profile was assessed by anthropometric measurements, body composition analysis, dietary survey and physical fitness tests. Diet of the obese when compared with dietary recommendations suggested by ICMR, 1994 was found to be higher in energy, fat, carbohydrates, calcium, vitamin A and vitamin C., moderately low in B complex vitamins and extremely low in iron and fiber content. Results of physical fitness tests revealed that study group was very poor in cardio respiratory endurance, muscular strength, muscular endurance and average in flexibility. For clinical trial, all the selected subjects were randomly divided in two groups Experimental (12) and Control (10). Experimental group was exposed to the developed DSS. The DSS was given to them and they were requested to follow the DSS for a period of one month. Statistically significant reduction was observed in body weight, body fat percent, body fat mass, in the intake of energy, fat, carbohydrates, in experimental group, while significant improvement was observed in total body water, intake of fruits, green leafy vegetables and physical fitness scores. No significant alteration was observed in any parameter of the Control group. Thus it can be concluded that the DSS was ranked as very good by panel of experts and it is effective in reducing body weight, improving body composition, and physical fitness of obese people.
Development and impact assessment of a Decision Support System on weight management and physical fitness