+AA
Fr
Back
Evidence Summary

What is an Evidence Summary?

Key messages from scientific research that's ready to be acted on

Got It, Hide this
  • Rating:

Internet based programs reduce waist circumference.

Seo, DC and Niu, J. Evaluation of internet-based interventions on waist circumference reduction: A meta-analysis J Med Internet Res. 2015;17:e181.

Review question

Do internet lifestyle programs help adults reduce waist circumference?

Background

The internet provides easy access to health information and resources and has the potential to help people change lifestyle behaviours like diet and physical activity to improve health. Internet programs promote physical activity, nutrition or both using theory, counseling, goal setting or social support to strengthen effectiveness of interventions focused on waist circumference reduction. Waist circumference is a strong predictor of increased risk for many diseases like hypertension and diabetes.

How the review was done

The researchers did a meta-analysis of 31 randomized controlled trials published between 1980 and 2014.

The studies included 8442 people that were assigned to a participant or control group with an average age ranging from 19 to 65 years.

 

Key features of the studies were:

  • The programs were delivered via the internet lasting from 4 weeks to 2 years
  • Components of the programs include behavior theories, self-monitoring behavior, feedback on performance, individual counseling, goal setting, social support, motivational interviewing and incentives to encourage weight loss.
  • The internet programs involved one or more of: online logs, email counseling, forums, online sessions and Facebook support groups.
  • Control groups received usual care or information only, through brochures and the internet or received nothing.

What the researchers found

Internet programs to change lifestyle behaviours significantly reduce waist circumference. Average change in waist circumference was 2.99 cm with internet programs and 0.81 cm with the control groups. The researchers found programs that included a social support component were most effective in reducing waist circumference with an average change of 1.16 cm. Internet programs had similar effects to more resource intense approaches such as paper, phone or person-based lifestyle behavior change. 

Conclusion

Internet programs for obesity or lifestyle changes may be an efficient and effective method to reduce waist circumference. Online social support should be included as part of an internet program to reduce waist circumference.

 




Glossary

Control group
A group that receives either no treatment or a standard treatment.
Meta-analysis
Advanced statistical methods contrasting and combining results from different studies.
Randomized controlled trials
Studies where people are assigned to one of the treatments purely by chance.

Related Web Resources

  • Texting 2 quit - Using mobile phones to support people quit smoking

    Evidently Cochrane
    Support, in the form of education and nicotine replacement therapy, can increase your chances of quitting smoking. Counselling and text message support via mobile phone is a promising way to manage nicotine cravings. More research is needed as technology options change.
  • Evidence gap: What we don't know about health apps

    Evidence-based Living
    There is some evidence that mobile health apps lead to healthier behavior, but they may also cause people to feel unnecessary anxiety about their health. There is no evidence that shows mobile health apps can be harmful.
  • How to use a peak flow meter

    UpToDate - patient information
    A peak flow meter measures lung function and the severity of asthma symptoms. It is an inexpensive, easy way to monitor asthma symptoms at home. Regular measurements can help guide treatment. This website gives tips on how to use it.
DISCLAIMER These summaries are provided for informational purposes only. They are not a substitute for advice from your own health care professional. The summaries may be reproduced for not-for-profit educational purposes only. Any other uses must be approved by the McMaster Optimal Aging Portal (info@mcmasteroptimalaging.org).

Register for free access to all Professional content

Register
Want the latest in aging research? Sign up for our email alerts.
Subscribe

Support for the Portal is largely provided by the Labarge Optimal Aging Initiative. AGE-WELL is a contributing partner. Help us to continue to provide direct and easy access to evidence-based information on health and social conditions to help you stay healthy, active and engaged as you grow older. Donate Today.

© 2012 - 2019 McMaster University | 1280 Main Street West | Hamilton, Ontario L8S4L8 | +1 905-525-9140 | Terms Of Use