Weight loss success a phone call away

March 11, 2008 2:04:49 PM PDT
New study shows that personal counseling - even enlisting a friend - beats web-based information

A study looking at different weight loss methods found that the most success was with chats with trained counselors.

The researchers tracked volunteers over 2 and a half years. One group received regular, personal contact from trained weight-loss counselors. A second group was given access to a custom-built weight-loss Web site loaded with information, and tools to track weight, record food diaries, and monitor physical activity levels. A third set of volunteers received some printed information with diet and lifestyle recommendations at the beginning of the study, but was largely self-directed.

Volunteers in the group getting personal counseling lost about 20 pounds in the first 6 months, and kept most of it off.

Once a month, counselors called the dieters, and chatted for 5 to 10 minutes about the progress.

A group testing a weight-loss website didn't do as well, and those who tried it on their own were the least successful.

The results were published in the March 12 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.