149054 Teen Weight Loss Club website: Its use in addressing obesity in adolescents

Wednesday, November 7, 2007: 2:30 PM

Alexis S. Lieberman, MD , Department of Pediatrics, Albert Einstein Medical Center, Philadelphia, PA
Introduction: Internet health websites are a promising method for treating obesity among adolescents.

Objective: To pilot a website, Teenweightlossclub.com, as a diagnosis and self-treatment tool for overweight/obese teens that encourages partnering with a physician. Outcome measures: the rate of user acquisition (number of visitors to the website who register and use the site), and user characteristics.

Methods: Elements of the website: a home page with self-efficacy messages; a Personal Quiz which identifies causes of overweight and symptoms of comorbidities of obesity; a Personal Report; an opportunity to set goals for weight loss; and a logbook to record progress. The Report, written at a 5th grade level, provides personalized, specific information and advice based on positive answers to the Quiz.

Log-in includes age and sex; all responses are recorded, as are numbers of visitors and registrants.

Results: In the first 12 months, 3600 visitors have led to 213 registered users, a user acquisition rate of 0.06 (high; 0.02 is typical for this type of site). User characteristics: average age 15.5 years (range 13-20); 86% female; 9% food insecurity; >2 hours TV/ day (59%); fruit/vegetables <4x/week (47%/41%); >2 sweetened beverages/ day (44%); skip breakfast (54%); 59% eat when sad; 58% binge; 14% make themselves vomit. Obesity comorbidities: no menses >3 months (14%); acanthosis nigricans (18%); hypertension (17%).

Conclusion: A website for adolescents appears to capture a relatively high rate of users with risk factors for and comorbidities of overweight, including low-income adolescents.

Learning Objectives:
Understand the role of the Internet in promoting obesity-reduction among adolescents. Review the experience of one such Internet website.

Keywords: Adolescent Health, Obesity

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Any relevant financial relationships? No
Any institutionally-contracted trials related to this submission?

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.