Online weight-loss programs can be greatly effective -- even more so than in-person programs, a new study has found.
The study evaluated two programs -- one involving traditional health club sessions and the other delivered virtually.
Participants in both programs lost about the same amount of weight and body fat, but the online contingent reported "significantly greater gains in behaviors" that could help them live healthier and leaner lives, according to Psych Central.
"It's counterintuitive, the idea of being more active in a virtual world, but the activities that they do in a virtual world can carry over into the real world," said Jeanne Johnston, Ph.D., assistant professor of kinesiology at Indiana University. "Through visualization and education, they can try activities that they had not tried before."
Online programs have been growing in popularity, and could be more advantageous to people who wouldn't normally go to a gym or join a weight-loss program because of time limits or personal discomfort with a fitness center environment.