Effects of a weight management program delivered by social media on weight and metabolic syndrome risk factors in overweight and obese adults: A randomised controlled trial
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Introduction: The aim of this project was to evaluate the effectiveness of using social media to augment the delivery of, and provide support for, a weight management program delivered to overweight and obese individuals during a twenty four week intervention. Methods: Participants randomly divided into either one of two intervention groups or a control group. The two intervention groups were instructed to follow identical weight-management program. One group received the program within a Facebook group, along with a support network with the group, and the other intervention group received the same program in a booklet. The control group was given standard care. Participants' weight and other metabolic syndrome risk factors were measured at baseline and at weeks 6, 12, 18 and 24. Results: The Facebook Group reported a 4.8% reduction in initial weight, significant compared to the CG only (p = 0.01), as well as numerically greater improvements in body mass index, waist circumference, fat mass, lean mass, and energy intake compared to the Pamphlet Group and the Control Group. Conclusions: These results demonstrate the potential of social media to assist overweight and obese individuals with respect to dietary and physical activity modifications for weight management, and justify further research into the inclusion of social media in clinical weight management programs. It is anticipated that social media will provide an invaluable resource for health professionals, as a low maintenance vehicle for communicating with patients, as well as a source of social support and information sharing for individuals undergoing lifestyle modifications.
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