Effect of internet support on the long-term maintenance of weight loss

Obes Res. 2004 Feb;12(2):320-9. doi: 10.1038/oby.2004.40.


Objective: To investigate the efficacy of an Internet weight maintenance program.

Research methods and procedures: Two hundred fifty-five healthy overweight and obese adults (mean +/- SD BMI, 31.8 +/- 4.1 kg/m(2)) men (18%; mean +/- SD age, 45.8 +/- 8.9 yrs) participated in a 6-month behavioral weight control program conducted over interactive television. Treatment was followed by a 12-month weight maintenance program with three conditions: frequent in-person support (F-IPS), minimal in-person support (M-IPS) and internet support (IS). Main outcome measures included body weight, program adherence, and social influence components.

Results: There were no significant differences among the groups in weight loss (mean +/- SD) from baseline to 18 months (7.6 +/- 7.3 kg vs. 5.5 +/- 8.9 kg vs. 5.1 +/- 6.5 kg, p = 0.23 for the IS, M-IPS, and F-IPS, respectively).

Discussion: Participants assigned to an internet-based weight maintenance program sustained comparable weight loss over 18 months compared with individuals who continued to meet face-to-face. Therefore, the internet appears to be a viable medium for promoting long-term weight maintenance.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Behavior Therapy / methods
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Internet*
  • Interpersonal Relations*
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Obesity / psychology*
  • Obesity / therapy*
  • Self-Help Groups
  • Social Support*
  • Time Factors
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Weight Loss