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UPDATE: Using the Internet to Reduce Weight-Shape Concerns

Reprinted from Eating Disorders Review
May/June 2005 Volume 16, Number 3
©2005 Gürze Books

An online intervention program effectively reduced concerns about weight and shape among 477 college-aged women at risk for an eating disorder. As reported by Dr. Barr Taylor and colleagues at the International Conference on Eating Disorders in Montreal at the end of April, the women were randomized to an 8-week online intervention ("Student Bodies") combined with a moderated support group, or to wait-list control group. The women then were followed for one year. After one year, the mean Weight Shape Concerns scale score dropped from 58.0 to 49.9 in the treatment group, but increased in the control group from 59.8 to 64.0. In both groups, body mass indexes remained stable and depression scores were high and remained stable. At one-year follow-up, self-reported vomiting rates were 3% in the treatment group compared to 9% among the control group. Comparative rates for the treatment group vs. control group for the following behaviors were: laxative use, 2% vs. 1%; diuretic use, 2% vs. 5%; and driven exercise, 27% vs. 37%. The authors concluded that the one-year Internet-based psychosocial program led to significantly reduced weight-shape concerns and less compensatory behavior.


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