Getting motivated to lose weight through the Internet may be very easy and inexpensive as communities get involved, claims a new study.
The new study evaluated a community weight loss campaign in Rhode Island called Shape Up RI-an annual campaign to help Rhode Islanders lose weight and increase physical activity through an online competition held over 12 weeks.
The researchers studied 179 Shape Up RI participants who had an average body mass index of nearly 34, which classifies them as obese.
In one study arm, researchers assigned participants to the standard Shape Up RI program or to the program plus extra video lessons on weight loss.
In the alternate study arm, participants were in either Shape Up RI or the standard program plus video lessons; daily self-monitoring of weight, eating and exercise; and computer-generated feedback.
"The addition of videos alone did lead to a small increase in weight loss, but the combination of the three strategies produced much better outcomes," said lead author Rena Wing, of the Brown University.
Wing and her colleagues found that adding just the video lessons in the first study did not produce any significant increase in weight loss.
However, in the second study, with the addition of all three strategies, the group had an average weight loss more than double that of first study - 7.7 pounds compared with 3.1 pounds.
The number of participants who loss 5 percent or more of their body weight was also more than triple in the second study: 40.5 percent compared with 13.2 percent.
The study appeared in the journal American Journal of Public Health.