Date Available


Year of Publication


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Document Type





Nutrition and Food Science

First Advisor

Dr. Kelly H. Webber


Behavioral weight loss programs have been shown to be effective for short-term weight loss, however the impact of these programs on dietary changes is unclear. This study examined the changes in participant’s diet and physical activity over the course of a 16-week Internet behavioral weight-loss program. A single-center randomized controlled trial was conducted from August 2008 to December 2008 in Lexington, KY, and sixty-six women whose mean (SD) age was 48.6 (10.8) years and body mass index was 31.8 (3.7) kg/m2 completed all dietary and physical measures. Participants received two face-to-face group sessions with a dietitian, at baseline and 4-weeks, in addition to 16 weekly behavioral weight loss lessons delivered via an Internet website. Participants showed a significant reduction in energy intake (1879.2±771.7 vs. 1372.9±423.7; p<0.001), dietary energy density (2.1±0.5 vs. 1.9±0.5; p=0.002) and a significant increase in diet quality score as measured by the HEI-2005 (53.9±9.9 vs. 57.4±10.6; p =0.002). Participants did not show significant differences in physical activity intensity, duration or energy expenditure. However, post hoc analysis revealed that those who adopted a healthy life style, such as eating more fruits and vegetables and being physically active, achieved greater weight loss than those who did not adopt a healthy lifestyle. Participation in this Internet behavioral weight loss program significantly improved dietary intake in adult women and did not significantly improve daily physical activity levels.