Providence, RI Dieters who received weekly advice from behavioral therapists on the Internet lost three times as much weight in six months as those who just had access to information about diet and exercise on the Internet 9 pounds compared to 3 pounds according to a recent Brown University study.
Participants in both groups followed the same pattern: They lost weight during the first three months, when they most frequently logged onto the studys Web site, and they maintained their weight loss during the next three months, when their Internet use declined. Participants who received online advice from behavior therapists logged on twice as many times during the first three months as those who just had access to information online.
Logging on more frequently was associated with better weight loss in both groups, said lead researcher Deborah F. Tate, assistant professor of psychiatry and human behavior in the Brown Medical School, who is based at The Miriam Hospital. But more importantly than just logging on to a Web site is what type of program you tap into. Our study shows that a structured program with continued contact works better than just giving people access to information online.
Published in the March 7, 2001, issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association, Tates study is the first to examine the use of Internet technology to aid weight loss and lays the groundwork for future research on the best methods for helping people to lose weight online.
Ninety-one people ages 18 to 60, who were on average 30 pounds overweight, began the study; sixty-five participants completed the study.