With obesity on the rise, there have been many attempts to take advantage of the Internet to help people lose weight, mainly because it's thought to be easier and less expensive.
Overall, patients in programs with a web component lost an average of a pound and a half more than participants in non-Web programs, the researchers reported in the International Journal of Obesity.
The findings are from a review of 23 studies that compared weight control programs with an Internet component to programs that did not involve any online support.
The Internet was used for a variety of purposes in the different weight control programs. These included individualized instruction, communication with lifestyle instructors, counseling, and keeping a record of food intake.
In addition, the programs varied in how much participants used the Internet.