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Int J Obes (Lond). 2012 May;36(5):675-85. doi: 10.1038/ijo.2011.121. Epub 2011 Jun 21.

Effect of Web-based lifestyle modification on weight control: a meta-analysis.

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  • 1Department of Internal Medicine, University of Tsukuba Institute of Clinical Medicine, Mito, Ibaraki, Japan.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

Web-based treatment programs are attractive in primary care because of their ability to reach numerous individuals at low cost. Our aim of this meta-analysis is to systematically review the weight loss or maintenance effect of the Internet component in obesity treatment programs.

METHODS:

MEDLINE and EMBASE literature searches were conducted to identify studies investigating the effect of Web-based individualized advice on lifestyle modification on weight loss. Randomized controlled trials that consisted of a Web-user experimental and non-Web user control group were included. Weight changes in the experimental group in comparison with the control group were pooled with a random-effects model.

RESULTS:

A total of 23 studies comprising 8697 participants were included. Overall, using the Internet had a modest but significant additional weight-loss effect compared with non-Web user control groups (-0.68 kg, P=0.03). In comparison with the control group, stratified analysis indicated that using the Internet as an adjunct to obesity care was effective (-1.00 kg, P<0.001), but that using it as a substitute for face-to-face support was unfavorable (+1.27 kg, P=0.01). An additional effect on weight control was observed when the aim of using the Internet was initial weight loss (-1.01 kg; P=0.03), but was not observed when the aim was weight maintenance (+0.68 kg; P=0.26). The relative effect was diminished with longer educational periods (P-trend=0.04) and was insignificant (-0.20 kg; P=0.75) in studies with educational periods of 12 months or more.

CONCLUSION:

The current meta-analysis indicates that the Internet component in obesity treatment programs has a modest effect on weight control. However, the effect was inconsistent, largely depending on the type of usage of the Internet or the period of its use.

PMID:
21694698
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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