Systematic review and meta-analysis of internet-delivered interventions providing personalized feedback for weight loss in overweight and obese adults

Obes Rev. 2016 Jun;17(6):541-51. doi: 10.1111/obr.12396. Epub 2016 Mar 7.


Background: Obesity levels continue to rise annually. Face-to-face weight loss consultations have previously identified mixed effectiveness and face high demand with limited resources. Therefore, alternative interventions, such as internet-delivered interventions, warrant further investigation. The aim was to assess whether internet-delivered weight loss interventions providing personalized feedback were more effective for weight loss in overweight and obese adults in comparison with control groups receiving no personalized feedback.

Method: Nine databases were searched, and 12 studies were identified that met all inclusion criteria.

Results: Meta-analysis, identified participants receiving personalized feedback via internet-delivered interventions, had 2.13 kg mean difference (SMD) greater weight loss (and BMI change, waist circumference change and 5% weight loss) in comparison with control groups providing no personalized feedback. This was also true for results at 3 and 6-month time points but not for studies where interventions lasted ≥12 months.

Conclusion: This suggests that personalized feedback may be an important behaviour change technique (BCT) to incorporate within internet-delivered weight loss interventions. However, meta-analysis results revealed no differences between internet-delivered weight loss interventions with personalized feedback and control interventions ≥12 months. Further investigation into longer term internet-delivered interventions is required to examine how weight loss could be maintained. Future research examining which BCTs are most effective for internet-delivered weight loss interventions is suggested.

Keywords: Feedback; internet interventions; obesity; weight loss.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Body Mass Index
  • Feedback, Psychological*
  • Health Behavior
  • Humans
  • Internet*
  • Obesity / therapy*
  • Overweight / therapy*
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic
  • Waist Circumference
  • Weight Loss*
  • Weight Reduction Programs*