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Medical News & Perspectives
September 19, 2012

Online Programs Help With Weight Loss

JAMA. 2012;308(11):1079. doi:10.1001/2012.jama.11008

Online weight loss programs work almost as well as face-to-face interventions, according to a meta-analysis published by the Cochrane Collaboration.

Traditional weight loss programs use various strategies to help patients with weight problems reduce their caloric intake, boost their activity levels, or both. But cost, logistical challenges, and other factors may limit the availability of such care. To expand access and make weight loss programs more convenient for patients, some institutions have developed interactive online weight loss programs. These may include many of the same components as in-person programs, such as setting goals, keeping diaries of food intake and exercise, and monitoring progress. Often, online chat sessions or message boards are available to enable participants to seek peer support.