Background: Greater numbers of women are entering young adulthood overweight, but traditional weight loss programs do not appeal to them. This article describes the development and evaluation of an e-health weight loss intervention for young women (18–30 years of age). Materials and Methods: Young women's preferences for a targeted weight loss program were investigated via a cross-sectional online survey. A 3-month targeted weight loss program for young women was developed based on the formative research. A single-arm pre–post study was conducted to evaluate the acceptability of the intervention (process evaluation survey and objective usage data) and to estimate the treatments' effects on weight-related outcomes from baseline to 3 months. Results: Online survey respondents (n = 274) indicated preferences for various technologies (Web site, online quizzes with e-mail feedback and goal setting, an online discussion forum, smartphone application, e-mail newsletters, and text messages). Eighteen (mean ± standard deviation [SD] age, 22.8 ± 3.2 years; body mass index, 27.3 ± 1.6 kg/m2) women entered the pre–post study. Mean satisfaction was 3.4 ± 1.0 (maximum of 5), and 66.7% of participants completed the study. Significant reductions in mean ± SD weight (−1.5 ± 2.4 kg; p = 0.02) and waist circumference (−0.7 ± 1.4 cm; p = 0.04) were observed. Conclusions: Due to lower than anticipated participant satisfaction, modifications to the program content and modes of delivery are required to ensure a higher proportion of young women complete and actively engage with the program. The positive effects of treatment on weight-related outcomes supports further refinement and evaluation of targeted, e-health weight loss interventions for young women.
Telemedicine and e-Health Vol. 22, Issue 6, p. 519-528