Relationships of the Psychological Influence of Food and Barriers to Lifestyle Change to Weight and Utilization of Online Weight Loss Tools
Binks M, van Mierlo T, Edwards CL
The psychological influence of food (PFS) and perceived barriers to lifestyle change (PBLC) were considered as predictors of body mass index and website tool utilization (TU) in an online weight loss program.
Materials and Methodology:
An archival analysis of all (N = 1361) overweight/obese (BMI M = 31.6 + 6.24 kg/m2), adult (M = 42.0 + 10.72 years) users (82.4% female) of an evidence-based, multidisciplinary Internet weight loss program was performed. Predictor variables included: PFS and PBLC, age, and longest maintained weight loss in relation to 1) BMI 2) TU.
Both PBLC and PFS were correlated with baseline BMI and TU. Regression analyses indicated that only PFS independently predicted BMI (p = .0001) and TU (p = .001) when the model included all predictor variables. One-way ANOVA indicated gender differences on both PBLC and PFS scores (p = .001). Subsequent regression analyses separated by gender showed that in females PFS predicted BMI (p = .0001) and TU (p = .005). For males no variable significantly predicted BMI (p’s > .05) however PBLC did predict TU (p = .008).
Our findings suggest that when developing online weight loss programs clinical characteristics of the user could inform website algorithms to maximize website utilization. Gender differences indicated that for women it may be important to understand how factors related to the psychological influence of food impact utilization of online weight loss programs, however, for men broader barriers to lifestyle change is an important consideration.
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