UAMS, Vermont Launching Obesity Study

AUGUST 29, 2006 - Posted at 7:46 a.m. CDT

LITTLE ROCK (AP) - Researchers in Arkansas and Vermont will

conduct a study to determine if Internet-based weight-loss programs

are more effective than programs delivered in-person during group

settings, such as the Weight Watchers program.

Delia West, director of the Interdisciplinary Obesity Program at

the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences and professor in

the Department of Health Behavior and Health Education, says the

in-person weight-loss programs are the QUOTE ``gold standard''

right now.

West says that Internet-based weight-loss programs, if

effective, can present a lot of opportunities for rural areas.

Researchers here and at the University of Vermont will track

five groups of participants for 18 months each before concluding in

2010. The National Institutes of Health is backing the 3-point-7

(M) million dollar study.

Each wave of participants is being randomly assigned to three

groups. One group will become part of an in-person only weight

control program; one group will attend in-person sessions as well

as Internet sessions, and the third group will be served by only

the Internet.