Web weigh-ins help keep the weight off

July 29, 2010 in Nutrition Topics in the News, Weight Management

Web weigh-ins help keep the weight off
According to a new study, people who have lost weight are better able to keep it off when they rely on interactive websites to support their efforts.

Researchers from Kaiser Permanente Center for Health Research in the U.S. studied over 340 people who were overweight or obese and taking medication for high blood pressure or high cholesterol.

For the first six months of the study, participants tried to lose weight by attending weekly group meetings at which they were weighed, encouraged to keep food diaries, and given extensive information about the benefits of healthy eating and exercise. To be eligible for the web-based maintenance program, participants had to lose at least 9 pounds. Participants randomly assigned to the Internet group had lost an average of 19 pounds.

Researchers found that people who logged in and recorded their weight at least once a month for 26 of the 28 months managed to maintain the greatest weight loss, keeping off an average of 9 of the 19 pounds they had lost during the weight loss phase of the program.

Those who logged in less consistently, at least once in 14 to 25 months, kept off an average of 5 pounds.

People who logged into the web site less than that kept off an average of only 3 pounds.

At the end of the 28 month study, 65% of the 348 participants were still logging in to the web site.

The factors most linked to less weight regain were number of log-ins and minutes on the web site, number of weight entries, number of exercise entries, and number of sessions using other web site features.

Based on these findings, which were published in the Journal of Medical Internet Research, researchers suggest consumers look for weight management programs that encourage accountability by asking users to consistently record weight, exercise, and calories consumed.

Also, they say web sites should include tailored or personalized information or have interactive features that allow users to communicate with others and with experts.

All research on this web site is the property of Leslie Beck Nutrition Consulting Inc. and is protected by copyright. Keep in mind that research on these matters continues daily and is subject to change. The information presented is not intended as a substitute for medical treatment. It is intended to provide ongoing support of your healthy lifestyle practices.