An Internet-Assisted Weight Loss Intervention for Older Overweight and Obese Rural Women: A Feasibility Study

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Older Appalachian women are an understudied population with few resources available to prevent obesity and chronic disease. This study explored the feasibility of a 12-week weight loss intervention using Internet technology for older rural Appalachian women. The sample (N = 24) included women 55 years or older recruited from two senior centers in the Appalachian region. The women were randomly assigned to either an Internet program called “Lose It” (Internet program for recording of daily calories and physical activity) or to a daily wellness program (health tips) delivered via e-mail. The mean age of participants was 69 ± 8 years. Their mean body mass index (kg/m2) at baseline was 34.2 ± 8. A significant difference (P = .036) was observed between intervention and control group scores on the Social Pressure Subscale. Both groups improved their intake of fruits and vegetables and lost weight from baseline to week 12. Internet weight loss programs appear feasible for older rural women. Internet-delivered weight loss interventions that provide a way to record daily calories, physical activity, and weight may provide a technology platform leading to increased self-efficacy for weight loss.

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