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Going Online Helps People With Weight Loss Stay In-line


Once a person loses weight they must battle in keeping those pounds off. A new study suggests that using interactive websites, specially designed to promote weight-loss maintenance, might help.

The study performed at Kaiser Permanente Center for Health Research was part of the Weight Loss Maintenance Trial, one of the largest and longest-running weight maintenance trials ever conducted lasting three years and including more than 1,600 people at four study sites across the United States.

What the study found was people who shed pounds and then consistently logged on to a specially designed internet sites for weight maintenance maintained more weight loss than participants who logged in less frequently.

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Study's lead author, Kristine Funk, a research associate at Kaiser Permanente's Center for Health Research in Portland, Ore, said, "The bottom line is that we think the Internet is a helpful tool for weight loss maintenance. People who used the study-designed interactive Web site had better results than people who used it less often."

"Keeping weight off is even more difficult than losing it in the first place, so the fact that so many people were able to maintain a good portion of their weight loss is very encouraging to us" says Victor J. Stevens, Ph.D., study co-author of the study.

Researchers say that there are many useful weight management websites that people can access. They advise people to look for these elements when choosing a site.

• Sites that encourage accountability by asking users to consistently record weight, exercise, and calories consumed
• Sites that include tailored or personalized information
• Sites with interactive features that allow users to communicate with each other and with nutrition and exercise experts
• Sites with accurate health information.

"Consistency and accountability are essential in any weight maintenance program. The unique part of this intervention was that it was available on the Internet, whenever and wherever people wanted to use it," said Funk.