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To Help Keep Weight Off, Turn to the Web
Date:7/27/2010

By Serena Gordon
HealthDay Reporter

TUESDAY, July 27 (HealthDay News) -- Worried about whether the weight you just lost will stay lost? Seeking out the right Web site might help, a new study suggests.

People who shed pounds and then consistently logged on to a specially designed Internet site for weight maintenance were better able to maintain a significant portion of their weight loss than people who logged on less often, new research finds.

When people checked in to the Web site at least once a month to record their weight or food consumption over a two-and-a-half year period, they were able to maintain an average of 9 pounds of their original 19-pound weight loss. In contrast, those who checked in regularly for just 14 months during that time were only able to maintain 5 pounds of their weight loss.

Those who logged in even less often were only able to maintain 3 pounds of their initial weight loss.

"The bottom line is that we think the Internet is a helpful tool for weight loss maintenance," said the study's lead author, Kristine Funk, a research associate at Kaiser Permanente's Center for Health Research in Portland, Ore. "People who used the study-designed interactive Web site had better results than people who used it less often. The key seems to be, 'How do I make these new habits something that I'm doing for a lifetime?'"

The site used in the study is no longer available, but experts cite key factors that can make any weight-loss Web site useful to those hoping to stay slim.

The study, funded by the U.S. National Institutes of Health, was published online on July 27 in the Journal of Medical Internet Research.

While losing weight is a challenge, keeping lost weight from coming back seems to be an even bigger challenge for many, according to Funk. Because an estimated 44 percent of middle-aged Americans have used the Internet for fitness and exercise information and al
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