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Prev Med. 2010 Aug;51(2):123-8. doi: 10.1016/j.ypmed.2010.04.018. Epub 2010 May 15.

Internet delivered behavioral obesity treatment.

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  • 1University of Vermont, Department of Nutrition and Food Sciences, Burlington, VT 05405, USA.



To evaluate the efficacy of an Internet behavioral weight loss program; and determine if adding periodic in-person sessions to an Internet intervention improves outcomes.


481 healthy overweight adults (28% minority) were randomized to one of 3 delivery methods of a behavioral weight loss program with weekly meetings: Internet (n=161), InPerson (n=158), or Hybrid (Internet+InPerson, n=162). Outcome variables were weight at baseline and 6 months and percent of subjects achieving a 5 and 7% weight loss. The study took place in two centers in Vermont and Arkansas from 2003 to 2008.


Conditions differed significantly in mean weight loss [8.0 (6.1) kg vs. 5.5 (5.6) kg vs. 6.0 (5.5) kg], for InPerson, Internet, and Hybrid respectively, p<0.01, n=462). Weight loss for InPerson was significantly greater than the Internet and Hybrid conditions (p<0.05). Although the proportion reaching a 5% weight loss did not differ, the proportion losing 7% did differ significantly (56.3% vs. 37.3% vs. 44.4% for InPerson, Internet, and Hybrid respectively, p<0.01).


These results demonstrate that the Internet is a viable alternative to in-person treatment for the delivery and dissemination of a behavioral weight-control intervention. The addition of periodic in-person sessions did not improve outcomes.

Copyright 2010 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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