Public Health Article

Evaluation of internet-based interventions on waist circumference reduction: A meta-analysis

Review Quality Rating: 9 (strong)

Citation: Seo DC, & Niu J. (2015). Evaluation of internet-based interventions on waist circumference reduction: A meta-analysis. Journal of Medical Internet Research, 17(7), e181.

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BACKGROUND: Internet-based interventions are more cost-effective than conventional interventions and can provide immediate, easy-to-access, and individually tailored support for behavior change. Waist circumference is a strong predictor of an increased risk for a host of diseases, such as hypertension, diabetes, and dyslipidemia, independent of body mass index. To date, no study has examined the effect of Internet-based lifestyle interventions on waist circumference change.
OBJECTIVE: This study aimed to systematically review the effect of Internet-based interventions on waist circumference change among adults.
METHODS: This meta-analysis reviewed randomized controlled trials (N=31 trials and 8442 participants) that used the Internet as a main intervention approach and reported changes in waist circumference.
RESULTS: Internet-based interventions showed a significant reduction in waist circumference (mean change -2.99 cm, 95% CI -3.68 to -2.30, I(2)=93.3%) and significantly better effects on waist circumference loss (mean loss 2.38 cm, 95% CI 1.61-3.25, I(2)=97.2%) than minimal interventions such as information-only groups. Meta-regression results showed that baseline waist circumference, gender, and the presence of social support in the intervention were significantly associated with waist circumference reduction.
CONCLUSIONS: Internet-based interventions have a significant and promising effect on waist circumference change. Incorporating social support into an Internet-based intervention appears to be useful in reducing waist circumference. Considerable heterogeneity exists among the effects of Internet-based interventions. The design of an intervention may have a significant impact on the effectiveness of the intervention.


Adults (20-59 years), Adult's Health (men's health, women's health), Behaviour Modification (e.g., provision of item/tool, incentives, goal setting), Community, Education / Awareness & Skill Development / Training, Internet, Meta-analysis, Nutrition, Obesity, Physical Activity, Primary health care provider office (e.g., Public health nurse, dietitian, social worker), Senior Health, Seniors (60+ years), Social Support (e.g., counseling, case management, outreach programs)

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