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Obesity (Silver Spring). 2008 May;16(5):1052-60. doi: 10.1038/oby.2008.19. Epub 2008 Feb 28.

Maintenance of weight loss in overweight middle-aged women through the Internet.

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  • 1Department of Physiology, Center for Physical Activity and Nutrition, The University of Arizona, Tucson, Arizona, USA.



The purpose of this study was to compare weight regain in a group of perimenopausal women (48.0+/-4.4 years old), randomized to a 12-month weight maintenance Internet intervention or to self-directed weight maintenance after a 4-month weight loss treatment.


After a 4-month behavioral weight loss program, 135 women were randomized to either Internet or self-directed groups. The Internet group (n=66) used a website to gain information and complete logs concerning their weight, diet, and exercise progress over a 12-month follow-up. The 69 self-directed women had no contact with study staff. All women were measured for weight and body composition, and diet intake, and were interviewed using the 7-day physical activity questionnaires at baseline, 4 months, and 16 months.


At the end of the 12-month follow-up, the Internet and self-directed groups had regained on average 0.4+/-5.0 kg and 0.6+/-4.0 kg, respectively (P=0.5). In within-group analyses, Internet diet-log entries were correlated with follow-up weight change (r=-0.29; P<0.05) and moderately with change in exercise energy expenditure (EEE; r=0.44; P<0.01). Follow-up weight change was not correlated with change in dietary intake.


While significant weight loss was maintained over follow-up by both groups of women, Internet use did not surpass self-direction in helping to sustain weight loss. Among Internet users, Internet use was related to weight change and EEE.

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