Weight Loss and Attrition in Overweight and Obese Young Women During a 36-Week Internet-Based Lifestyle Intervention

S.S. Lim, R.J. Norman, P.M. Clifton, M. Noakes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearch


Background: Young women are at high risk of weight gain yet few studies have examined the long-term effectiveness of weight loss programs in this group. This study aimed to investigate the effects of a self-directed internet-based lifestyle program on body weight in young women. Methods: Overweight or obese young women (BMI 33.4 ± 0.3 kg/m2, age 27.8 ± 0.3 years) were initially randomized to General lifestyle advice (G) or Structured lifestyle advice (S) via in-person and website support for 12 weeks (Phase I). After Phase I, all participants were supported through a self-directed internet-based program for 36 weeks (Phase II). The internet-based program included a structured hypocaloric diet, physical activity program, selfmonitoring tools, peer group forum and monthly emails. Body weight, energy intake and physical activity were measured at week 0, week 12, week 24 and week 48. Adherence to self-regulatory behaviors was measured at week 48. Mixed model analyses were conducted to determine changes in body weight, energy intake and physical activity. Results: A total of 203 overweight or obese young women commenced Phase I and 130 commenced Phase II. In Phase I, S group had significantly greater weight loss than G group (4.2 ± 0.6 kg vs 0.6 ± 0.3 kg, P<0.001). In Phase II, both groups had significant weight loss over time without significant group differences (-0.8 ± 1.1kg vs -0.8 ± 0.6, P>0.05). Forty-one percent (53/130) of the participants who commenced Phase II completed the internet-based intervention. Dropouts had a higher baseline BMI, were more likely to be married or in a de facto relationship, and more likely to have at least one child. Conclusions: A self-directed internet-based program could be effective in providing support in maintaining weight loss on a structured lifestyle program in young women over 36 weeks. Further research is required to maintain engagement in young women who were married/in a de facto relationship or have children.
Original languageEnglish
Article number10000235
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Obesity & Weight Loss Therapy
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2014
Externally publishedYes

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