Online weight intervention helps maintain long-term weight loss
Association of internet website use with weight change in a long-term weight loss maintenance program. Funk KL, Stevens VJ, Appel LJ, Bauck A, Brantley PJ, Champagne CM, Coughlin J, Dalcin AT, Harvey-Berino J, Hollis JF, Jerome GJ, Kennedy BM, Lien LF, Myers VH, Samuel-Hodge C, Svetkey LP, Vollmer WM. J Med Internet Res. 2010. 12(3): e29.
To analyze patterns of use of an interactive website for support of long-term weight maintenance and evaluate which web features were most effective.
348 participants on a weight loss maintenance program, 37% of which were male. The participants had lost an average 8.6 kilograms and were trained to use an interactive website to maintain the weight loss.
Participants were encouraged to log in at least weekly and enter their current weight for 30 months. The website contained features that encouraged setting short-term goals, creating action plans, and reinforcing self-management habits. The website also included motivational modules, daily tips, and tailored messages. Dependant on how often they used the intervention, participants were divided into three categories: consistent, some, and minimal.
- People who used the intervention regularly were around twice as likely to maintain their weight loss.
- 51% of consistent users kept their weight loss compared with 27% of some use and 24% of minimal users.
- Interactive and engaging features increased user log in: motivational modules, daily tips, tailored content, and group interaction.
- Automated email prompts and reminders also encouraged participants to login.
- Over 65% of participants were still actively logging onto the website at the end of the study.
What does this mean?
Online interventions that are interactive and tailored can provide feedback and support for people to maintain long-term weight loss.