Evaluating an Internet weight loss program for diabetes prevention Academic Article uri icon

abstract

  • Being overweight or obese is a major risk factor for developing type 2 diabetes but weight loss through lifestyle interventions can markedly reduce its incidence. The Internet provides an opportunity for the development and implementation of lifestyle intervention programs that promote self-managed behavioural change. We developed an online weight loss program emphasizing physical activity and dietary modifications and conducted a short-term qualitative evaluation of it, examining participant recruitment from the general public, website usage and satisfaction and use of self-reported health risk appraisal records. From a total of 808 registered participants who accessed the online services, 683 (84.5%) completed at least one online health risk appraisal and of those, 464 (68%) people (364 female, aged 19-70 years; 100 male, aged 20-71 years) enrolled in the weight loss program. The program was met with a high level of satisfaction by participants, with 56% of feedback respondents agreeing that the program helped them achieve their goals. The program home page, the principal arrival destination of participants, was viewed an average of 29 times per participant, suggesting that the website's services were used with a high frequency. These preliminary findings indicate that the general public will use an Internet-based weight loss program that involves physical activity and dietary behavioural interventions. Whether Internet delivery of these interventions can significantly reduce the risk for developing type 2 diabetes is worthy of further investigation. The findings have relevance for development of health promotion policies and practices.

publication date

  • September 1, 2005