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.