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Weight loss given a thrust with e-counselling

d and encouraged to follow an internet weight loss program, with the automated and human groups also having access to an electronic diary and message board. In addition, the human group received weekly email feedback from a counselor, while the automated group received computer automated feedback messages. All three groups were measured at the start of the program, three months and six months. The primary measure was change in body weight although physical activity, dietary intake, and login frequency to the program's website was also monitored.

"We found that both the human and computer automated groups lost significantly more weight than the group without counseling after three months," says Tate.

While average weight loss was similar for both groups receiving e-counseling at three months - the authors found that at six months, the human group experienced the greatest overall weight loss, averaging a loss of 13 to 15 pounds.

"Findings supported our previous research suggesting that human email counseling improves weight loss, but it also implies that computer automated feedback was sufficient to promote short-term adherence to diet and exercise and result in a weight loss that could have important health benefits," says Tate.

The authors cite that those in the computer automated group averaged an overall weight loss of 8 to 10 pounds and 34 percent achieved a weight loss of more than 5 percent of their initial weight; considered a clinically meaningful weight loss. In addition, participants in the computer automated group achieved weight losses equivalent to human e-counselling for the first three months.

"Further research is needed to improve the computerized approach to promote continued adherence over a longer period of time, but from a public health perspective - this is a promising area to explore," says Wing.

Source : Eureka Alert


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