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Prev Chronic Dis. 2009 Jul;6(3):A101. Epub 2009 Jun 15.

An internet-based weight loss intervention initiated by a newspaper.

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Department of Community and Family Medicine, Duke University Medical Center, Box 2914, Durham, NC 27710, USA.



An estimated two-thirds of North Carolina residents are overweight or obese. Mass media, such as newspapers and the Internet, can be used to broadly convey health messages for weight loss.


Newspapers have traditionally been a primary source of health information for the general public. They may be uniquely suited to initiate and manage a community-based weight loss program by quickly reaching a broad readership.


Participants in the 2005 Lose to Win weight loss challenge visited the Herald-Sun Web site and anonymously entered a nickname and identification number and reported their weight each week. Participants had access to weekly articles on diet and physical activity and 4 free educational seminars.


Of the 154 participants who self-reported weight at baseline and during the last week of the challenge, the mean weight lost was 5.9 lb.


Results suggest that this challenge fostered health awareness and promoted weight loss in the community. Future interventions of this type should use strategies to increase participation and retention, improve the accuracy of reported weight, and evaluate long-term success of the program. This type of intervention may be a useful first step to reach residents who are interested in losing weight.

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