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A Japanese study that sought to compare the amount of weight lost through an internet program as compared to the traditional programs found that web based weight losing programs had a more positive though small impact than the traditional programs.

Web Based Weight Losing Programs Found to have a More Positive though Small Impact than Traditional Programs

The study, lead by Hiroshito Sone from the University of Tsukuba Institute of Clinical Medicine, Ibaraki, Japan, was published in the recent issue of the International Journal of Obesity.

The research analyzed the results of 23 previous studies involving 8697 participants and found that people trying to shed weight through a web based program tend to lose about 3.3 kg (1.5 lbs) more weight as compared to people who rely on a traditional weight losing program.

The internet was used for multiple functions such as giving individualized instructions, communication with lifestyle instructors, counseling, and keeping a record of food intake.

However, the researchers found that the most effective way of losing weight was combining internet with face to face counseling. When the people used both the mediums concurrently, they ended up losing about 4.4 kg (2 lb) more than people who did not use the net. Similarly, people who relied only on the net and did not go for face to face counseling actually ended up gaining around 6.6 kg (3 lb). Internet programs were found to be more effective in losing weight rather than maintaining the weight loss.

Internet based weight loss programs are less expensive but you have to be careful while choosing one

According to researchers, web based programs to lose weight are more attractive as they have a large reach at a low cost. But although they are less expensive, one has to be extremely careful while choosing a program fro oneself. You should consider the following points before opting for a specific weight loss program:

  • Insure that the program has been designed and operated by qualified professionals experienced in counseling for weight loss. It is always better if they have registered dietitians on board.
  • Insure that the program offers multiple diet options and flexible exercise programs which can suit the body demands of different individuals.
  • Insure that the web program is written in a simple language which is easy to comprehend and the website is easy to navigate. It should look professional in appearance and not a work of an amateur.
  • Discuss the plan with your physician before embarking on it. Certain diet programs or exercises may not be suitable for you keeping in mind your medical history. Your physician is the best person to guide you on this aspect.
  • Stay clear of programs that advertise instant weight loss. Stick to plans that promise not more than 2 lb weight loss per week to avoid damaging your body and health.
  • Do not opt for programs with a rigid one for all approach. Individualized programs to suit the demands of one’s body are always better.
  • Be wary of sites which offer magic potions to lose weight (there is nothing like it) or promote a very strict dieting regimen.

Always remember that whether you opt for a traditional or an internet based weight loss program, it should be suitable for your body type and your activity level. It should be according to your medical history and shouldn’t jeopardize your health. When you have chosen a program, stick to it to get desired results.

  • “Effect of web-based lifestyle modification on weight control: a meta-analysis” by S Kodama, K Saito, S Tanaka, C Horikawa, K Fujiwara, R Hirasawa, Y Yachi, K T Iida, H Shimano, Y Ohashi, N Yamada and H Sone
  • published in International Journal of Obesity , (21 June 2011), accessed on 9 July 2011.
  • “Internet-Based Weight Loss Services: How Effective Are They?” by Maria Adams, ThirdAge.com, posted on 14 July 2008, accessed on 9July 2011.
  • “Can the Internet help you lose weight?” by Eric Schultz, Reuters, posted on 29 June 2011, accessed on 9July 2011
  • Photo courtesy of Alan Cleaver on Flickr: www.flickr.com/photos/alancleaver/4222533261/