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Weight Loss and Usage of an Online Commercial Weight Loss Program (the CSIRO Total Wellbeing Diet Online) Delivered in an Everyday Context: Five-Year Evaluation in a Community Cohort.


ABSTRACT:

Background

Obesity is a global public health challenge, and there is a need for more evidence-based self-management programs that support longer-term, sustained weight loss.

Objective

This study used data from the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) Total Wellbeing Diet Online program to determine the reach and weight loss results over its first 5 years.

Methods

Participants were adults who joined the commercial weight loss program of their own volition between October 2014 and September 2019 (N=61,164). Information collected included year of birth, sex, height, weight, and usage data (eg, entries into the food diary, views of the menu, and program content). Weight loss and percentage of starting body weight lost were calculated. Members were divided into 2 groups for analysis: "stayers" were members who signed up for at least 12 weeks of the program and recorded a weight entry at baseline and at the end of the program, while "starters" began the program but did not record a weight after 12 weeks. Descriptive statistics and multiple linear regression were used to describe weight loss and determine the member and program characteristics associated with weight loss.

Results

Data were available from 59,686 members for analysis. Members were predominately female (48,979/59,686, 82.06%) with an average age of 50 years (SD 12.6). The average starting weight was 90.2 kg (SD 19.7), and over half of all members (34,195/59,688, 57.29%) were classified as obese. At week 12, 94.56% (56,438/59,686) of the members had a paid program membership, which decreased to 41.48% (24,756/59,686) at 24 weeks. At week 12, 52.03% (29,115/55,958) of the remaining members were actively using the platform, and by week 24, 26.59% (14,880/55,958) were using the platform. The average weight loss for all members was 2.8 kg or 3.1% of their starting body weight. Stayers lost 4.9 kg (5.3% of starting body weight) compared to starters, who lost 1.6 kg (1.7% of starting body weight). Almost half (11,082/22,658, 48.91%) the members who stayed on the program lost 5% or more of their starting body weight, and 15.48% (3507/22,658) achieved a weight loss of 10% or more. Of the members who were classified as class 1 obese when they joined the program, 41.39% (3065/7405) who stayed on the program were no longer classified as obese at the end, and across all categories of obesity, 24% (3180/13,319) were no longer classified as obese at the end of the program. Based on multiple linear regression, platform usage was the strongest predictor of weight loss (β=.263; P<.001), with higher usage associated with greater weight loss.

Conclusions

This comprehensive evaluation of a commercial, online weight loss program showed that it was effective for weight loss, particularly for members who finished the program and were active in using the platform and tools provided. If the results demonstrated here can be achieved at an even greater scale, the potential social and economic benefits will be extremely significant.

PROVIDER: S-EPMC8218211 | BioStudies |

REPOSITORIES: biostudies

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