A preliminary investigation into whether early intervention can improve weight loss among those initially non-responsive to an internet-based behavioral program
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This study examined whether providing additional support to individuals with poor initial weight loss improves 12-week outcomes. Participants were randomized to a 12-week internet-delivered behavioral weight loss program (IBWL; n = 50) or the identical internet program plus the possibility of extra support (IBWL + ES; n = 50). IBWL + ES participants losing <2.3 % at Week 4 (early non-responders; n = 12) received one individual meeting and two follow-up phone calls with an interventionist, and were compared to IBWL ‘early non-responders’ who did not receive extra support (n = 21), and to ‘early responders’ in both treatment arms (i.e., 4-week weight loss ≥2.3 %; n = 59). IBWL + ES early non-responders had greater program adherence (p’s < 0.055) and lost twice as much weight (p = 0.036) compared to IBWL early non-responders. Program adherence did not differ between early responders and IBWL + ES early non-responders. However, 12-week weight loss was greater in the early responders compared to both early non-responder groups (p’s > 0.05). Providing additional intervention to early non-responders in an Internet program improves treatment outcomes.
KeywordsWeight loss Stepped care Obesity treatment Early rescue Web-based intervention Internet-delivered intervention
The authors would like to acknowledge Abby Moylan and Lucie Rice with all of their assistance on this study.
Compliance with ethical standards
Conflict of interest
Tricia M. Leahey is the chief scientist at WayBetter Inc., Jessica L. Unick, Leah Dorfman and Rena R. Wing have declared that they have no conflict of interest.
Human and animal rights and Informed consent
All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards. Informed consent was obtained from all patients for being included in the study.