Funding agencies: BB was supported by the Medical Student Research Program in Diabetes at Johns Hopkins University-University of Maryland Diabetes Research Center from the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (P30DK079637). KAG was supported by a career development award from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (K23HL116601).
Guideline-concordant weight-loss programs in an urban area are uncommon and difficult to identify through the internet
Version of Record online: 10 FEB 2016
© 2016 The Obesity Society
Volume 24, Issue 3, pages 583–588, March 2016
How to Cite
Bloom, B., Mehta, A. K., Clark, J. M. and Gudzune, K. A. (2016), Guideline-concordant weight-loss programs in an urban area are uncommon and difficult to identify through the internet. Obesity, 24: 583–588. doi: 10.1002/oby.21403
Disclosure: The authors declared no conflict of interest.
- Issue online: 25 FEB 2016
- Version of Record online: 10 FEB 2016
- Manuscript Accepted: 18 OCT 2015
- Manuscript Revised: 30 SEP 2015
- Manuscript Received: 12 AUG 2015
- National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. Grant Number: P30DK079637
- National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. Grant Number: K23HL116601
To determine the reliability of Internet-based information on community-based weight-loss programs and grade their degree of concordance with 2013 American Heart Association, American College of Cardiology, and The Obesity Society weight-management guidelines.
An online search was conducted for weight-loss programs in the Maryland-Washington, DC-Virginia corridor. Content analysis was performed to abstract program components from their websites, and then 80 programs were randomly selected for a telephone survey to verify this information. Reliability of Internet information was determined in comparison with telephone interview responses.
Of the 191 programs, 1% were graded as high, 8% as moderate, and 91% as low with respect to guideline concordance based on website content. Fifty-two programs participated in the telephone survey (65% response rate). Program intensity, diet, physical activity, and use of behavioral strategies were underreported on websites as compared to description of these activities during the phone interview. Within the subsample, 6% of programs were graded as high based on website information, whereas 19% were graded as high after the telephone interview.
Most weight-loss programs in an urban, mid-Atlantic region do not currently offer guideline-concordant practices and fail to disclose key information online, which may make clinician referrals challenging.