Web-Based Interventions Facilitate Weight Loss Between Three to Five Percent

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Mollie Turner, The Obesity Society: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it


Gamification, Social Influence, and Financial Incentives Can Facilitate Weight Loss

Averaging Between Three and Five Percent

Social Dieting Website, DietBet.com, Shares Outcomes in Award-Winning Research


ATLANTA, GA – Financial incentives and social influence are well known to promote weight loss, but until now there has been limited research on the effectiveness of these tools. In an award-winning study presented at The Obesity Society annual meeting at ObesityWeekSM 2013, use of a popular new web-based game, DietBet.com, was found to successfully lead to weight loss of up to five percent of initial body weight, on average. Study participants showed a mean four-week weight loss of 3.1%, with “winners” of the DietBet game losing 4.9% of their initial body weight. TOS’s eHealth/mHealth Section honored the research as one of five award recipients showing excellence in leveraging digital technologies to improve weight loss.


“Social solutions like DietBet provide a common sense platform to connect with and support people affected by obesity who are looking to improve their health,” said study co-author Tricia Leahey, PhD, of Brown Medical School, who is presenting her study today at the meeting. “The study shows that betting higher amounts of money, sharing on Facebook, and integrating more social interactions can facilitate greater weight loss.”


How does DietBet work? Players bet money to compete in a game in which all players have four weeks to lose at least four percent of their initial body weight. At the end of four weeks, the money pool is divided up among winners. Throughout the game, players interact and report weight loss on the site and can share their participation and results on social media websites such as Facebook and Twitter.


Study authors evaluated more than 25,000 players (83 percent female; 89.1±22.3 kg) who competed in 1,356 games between December 2012 and April 2013. Ninety percent provided a weight at the end of the four-week challenge. Mean weight loss among players was 3.1±2.0 percent and weight loss among winners was 4.9±1.0 percent, with 31 percent of players losing at least five percent of their starting weight. Factors that predicted greater weight loss at the end of four weeks included betting more money, sharing on Facebook, completing more weigh-ins, and having more social interactions (all p<0.001).


“Researchers agree that gaming, social influence, and financial incentives are all forms of motivation that can be effective for weight loss,” said Amanda Staiano, PhD, member of TOS’s Public Affairs Committee and scientist at Pennington Biomedical Research Center. “Web-based platforms like DietBet.com show promise as cost-effective and scalable resources to provide individuals with the motivation and tools to lose weight.”


Read the full abstracts release Friday here.


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About The Obesity Society

The Obesity Society (TOS) is the leading professional society dedicated to better understanding, preventing and treating obesity. Through research, education and advocacy, TOS is committed to improving the lives of those affected by the disease. For more information visit: www.Obesity.org.


About ObesityWeek

ObesityWeekSM is the largest, international event focused on the basic science, clinical application, and prevention and treatment of obesity. TOS and the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery (ASMBS) host the world’s pre-eminent conference on obesity, ObesityWeekSM 2013, Nov. 11-16, at the Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta, Georgia. For the first time, both organizations hold their respective annual scientific meetings under one roof to unveil exciting new research, discuss emerging treatment and prevention options, and network and present with leaders in the field.


About DietBetter

DietBetter is a social dieting company that is pioneering a whole new way to lose weight. With its DietBet platform, the company brings people together to lose weight as a community. It is working: 96 percent of DietBetters lose weight while winners lose an average of nine pounds a month. Since the game's launch in January 2012, the company has paid out over $3 million to winners while helping its players lose over 500,000 pounds. For more information contact Alison Weick: 212-DIETBET x112, This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .


About Dr. Tricia Leahey

Dr. Leahey is at Brown Medical School's Weight Control and Diabetes Research Center. Her work focuses on the development of novel interventions for the treatment of obesity. She is currently examining the effects of social networks on weight control and testing health coaches and financial incentives for weight loss maintenance. Contact: 401-793-8947, This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .



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