Tags: computer | web | weight | loss

Online Weight-loss Programs Found Useful

Thursday, 13 September 2012 01:00 PM

It may seem counter-intuitive, but new research has shown computer and web-based weight management programs can be a cost-effective way to shed pounds and target the growing problem of obesity.
In a new analysis of studies examining such programs, a team of U.S. researchers found that delivering weight loss or weight maintenance programs online or by computer helped overweight and obese patients lose and/or maintain weight nearly as well as conventional diet and fitness initiatives.
"Computer or web-based weight management programs may be less beneficial than face-to-face interventions, but health care providers have limited opportunities to provide this care, so lower impact treatment approaches need to be considered," said lead researcher L. Susan Wieland, of the University of Maryland School of Medicine in Baltimore.
Wieland and her colleagues evaluated 14 studies of weight loss, involving 2,537 people, and four weight maintenance studies involving an additional 1,603 people. In the weight loss studies, people lost more weight after six months than those receiving minimal or no help, but less than those who received treatment face-to-face. Similarly, those who took part in weight maintenance studies were more successful at keeping off weight than those receiving no or minimal help, but less so than those receiving face-to-face treatment.
The researchers suggested new technologies, including smartphones, might be used to expand the reach of such online programs.
"Since we started the review, smartphones have become capable of functioning like fully mobile computers with interactive potential similar to that of laptops and desktops," said Wieland. "We hope to include trials of smartphones when we update this review."
The World Health Organization projects that the number of obese and overweight people will reach 1.5 billion by 2015 – a trend likely to drive up rates of diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke and other chronic medical conditions.

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Computer and web-based programs can be a cost-effective way to shed pounds, new research shows.
Thursday, 13 September 2012 01:00 PM
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