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Obesity (Silver Spring). 2010 Feb;18(2):308-13. doi: 10.1038/oby.2009.242. Epub 2009 Aug 20.

Web-based weight loss in primary care: a randomized controlled trial.

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  • 1Department of Society, Human Development, and Health, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, Massachusetts, USA.


Evidence is lacking regarding effective and sustainable weight loss approaches for use in the primary care setting. We conducted a 12-week randomized controlled trial to evaluate the short-term efficacy of a web-based weight loss intervention among 101 primary care patients with obesity and hypertension. Patients had access to a comprehensive website that used a moderate-intensity weight loss approach designed specifically for web-based implementation. Patients also participated in four (two in-person and two telephonic) counseling sessions with a health coach. Intent-to-treat analysis showed greater weight loss at 3 months (-2.56 kg; 95% CI -3.60, -1.53) among intervention participants (-2.28 +/- 3.21 kg), relative to usual care (0.28 +/- 1.87 kg). Similar findings were observed among intervention completers (-3.05 kg; 95% CI -4.24, -1.85). High rates of participant retention (84%) and website utilization were observed, with the greatest weight loss found among those with a high frequency of website logins (quartile 4 vs. 1: -4.16 kg; 95% CI -1.47, -6.84). The intervention's approach promoted moderate weight loss at 12 weeks, though greater weight loss was observed among those with higher levels of website utilization. Efficacious web-based weight loss interventions can be successfully offered in the primary care setting.

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