Tags: weight | loss | group | alone

Group Support Boosts Weight Loss

Tuesday, 26 June 2012 02:08 PM

When it comes to losing weight, it’s harder going it alone. That’s the key finding of a new study that suggests people who use web-based programs that feature successful strategies of others who have lost weight shed more pounds than those attempting to do it on their own.
The study, by Penn State College of Medicine researchers, was based on a website researchers created -- called AchieveTogether – that showcased weight-loss success stories to encourage users to follow its guidelines. Researchers then compared the site’s users with a group of people trying to lose weight on their own.
Over a period of several months, users of the AchieveTogether website lost about 4.5 pounds more weight than the control group, according to the study, published in American Journal of Preventative Medicine.
"Internet-based weight loss programs could help address the obesity epidemic, as they can be widely shared and used with low costs," said lead researcher Dr. Jennifer L. Kraschnewski. "Existing Internet-based weight-loss strategies have largely promoted weight-loss strategies designed by health professionals, including goal-setting and features to promote social interaction. These programs have had modest short-term effects, suggesting that exploring alternative approaches may be beneficial."
For the study, AchieveTogether users were informed about 36 weight-loss behaviors used by people who had lost at least 30 pounds. Users logged in to the site at least once a week and recorded their weight, height and frequency of using the weight loss practices. They were also matched to three role models based on gender, age and target body weight and reviewed their strategies for weight loss.
"At each log in, participants received tailored feedback to help them choose which practices to keep doing or learned ways to adapt them based on their own activity," Kraschnewski said.
She said researchers will now use the study’s findings to inform how to increase engagement with the website and explore best how to use the experience of a diverse group to build a more complete program of weight loss.
This study was funded, in part, by the National Institutes of Health.

© HealthDay

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When it comes to losing weight, it’s harder to be successful if you try to do it on your own.
Tuesday, 26 June 2012 02:08 PM
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