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Web-Based Lifestyle Program Works for Liver Disease Patients

Similar weight, liver enzyme improvements seen with group- and web-based programs for NAFLD patients

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TUESDAY, Oct. 16, 2018 (HealthDay News) -- Web-based programs may be effective in helping patients make lifestyle changes to control non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), according to a study published in the November issue of the Journal of Hepatology.

Arianna Mazzotti, M.D., from the University of Bologna in Italy, and colleagues compared the effectiveness of a group-based intervention (GBI; 438 individuals) and a web-based intervention (WBI; 278 individuals) to encourage lifestyle changes in patients with NAFLD. The group-based intervention involved five weekly meetings chaired by physicians, dietitians, and psychologists. The web-based intervention included interactive games, learning tests, motivational tests, and mail contacts.

The researchers found that while the two-year attrition rate was higher in the WBI group, healthy lifestyle changes were observed in both groups. Body mass index decreased by almost two points, with the 10 percent weight loss target reached in 20 percent of WBI cases and 15 percent of GBI cases (not significant). After adjustment for confounders and attrition rates, WBI was not associated with a reduction in patients reaching short- and long-term 10 percent weight targets. Both groups experienced decreases in liver enzymes, but they normalized more frequently in WBI.

"The study shows that, following a structured motivational approach, a web-based, interactive intervention coupled with six-month face-to-face meetings is not inferior to a standard group-based intervention with respect to weight loss, adherence to healthy diet and habitual physical activity, normalization of liver enzymes, and stable surrogate markers of fibrosis," the authors write.

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