Send to

Choose Destination
Prev Med. 2005 Aug;41(2):629-41.

Long-term weight gain prevention: a theoretically based Internet approach.

Author information

Department of Psychology, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, VA 24061-0436, USA.



A major focus of Healthy People 2010 is promoting weight management and physical activity because overweight, obesity, and a sedentary lifestyle are strongly associated with risk for heart disease and stroke, diabetes, cancers, and premature death.


Prevalence data and a focused review of weight management and physical activity studies point to the long-term weight gain prevention in normal weight (21-25 BMI), overweight (25-29 BMI), and even moderate obese (30-34 BMI) people as one alternative to prioritizing weight loss in health behavior interventions. This is because on a population basis annual weight gain is small (approximately 0.8 kg/year) and preventing weight gain appears to require only an energy shift of about 100 cal/day either through a modest increase in physical activity and/or consuming slightly less calories to maintain an energy balance. A more dynamic use of social cognitive theory (SCT) for developing programs to maintain health behavior changes is emerging with some evidence of long-term maintenance. The high use of the Internet provides a vehicle to reach different population segments with readily accessible, SCT-tailored long-term programs. Research studies using the Internet with tailored SCT interventions have shown changes in nutrition practices, physical activity, and weight loss for up to a year.


One promising approach to weight gain prevention in population segments is the development and wide spread use of longer-term Internet programs using specific principles and procedures from SCT.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Elsevier Science
Loading ...
Support Center