New Study Confirms That Using the Internet Can Help You Lose Weight

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The study showed that the use of a web-based intervention in overweight and obese patients had a positive and significant impact on weight loss.

Researchers at the University of Tsukuba have demonstrated that using a web-based application can help with weight loss.

Obesity and overweight can lead to serious chronic diseases, including type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, sleep apnea, osteoarthritis and certain cancers. Traditional weight loss interventions involving behavior modification and lifestyle modification have proven effective, and there has recently been the development of innovative Internet-based weight loss interventions.

Fitness-related wearables and smartphone apps have been shown to increase physical activity. However, the extent of their impact and the most effective components have yet to be studied and determined.A recent study conducted by researchers at the University of Tsukuba was published in Nutrientsevaluated the efficacy of utilizing a web-based application in promoting weight loss and implementing lifestyle changes in overweight and obese individuals.

To examine the aforementioned effectiveness of the web-based application, the researchers conducted a systematic review in which 1466 articles from 2 medical publication databases were retrieved and carefully selected. The quality of evidence for each study was reviewed according to risk of bias; 97 studies were qualitatively analyzed and 51 studies were analyzed quantitatively.

Qualitative analyzes showed that studies using components of social support, behavioral and outcome (weight) self-monitoring, behavioral goal setting, health outcome information, and outcome goal setting were highly effective in weight loss.

“Our study shows that the use of a web-based intervention in overweight and obese individuals has a positive and significant effect on weight loss,” said Professor Yoshio Nakata. “However, our data also suggest a downward trend in the effectiveness of long-term web-based interventions”.

Quantitative results also showed the effectiveness of using web-based interventions such as personalized messages to tailor the user's needs and e-counseling, possibly due to the advent and advancement of smartphone technology and the availability of web-based counseling. However, some components of web-based interventions, live chat, proved ineffective, highlighting the need for such efficacy evaluations.

This study analyzed the different components of a web-based intervention for weight loss in overweight and obese populations and identified key components and characteristics of the aforementioned interventions that contributed to their efficacy. With the growing global attention on obesity and the steady increase in the number of people accessing the Internet and using web-based health interventions, this study provides a basis for analyzing the effectiveness of these interventions and provides insights that will aid in the design of these applications .

“Efficacy and components of web-based interventions on weight change in overweight and obese adults: a systematic review of meta-analyses,” by Yutong Shi, Kyohsuke Wakaba, Kosuke Kiyohara, Fumi Hayashi, Kazuyo Tsushita, and Yoshio Nakata, 2022 December 30, Nutrients.
DOI: 10.3390/nu15010179

The study was funded by the Japan Medical Research and Development Agency AMED's Practical Research Program in Lifestyle-Related Diseases, including Cardiovascular Disease and Diabetes.

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