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, MD, 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 5 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 2-year attrition rate was higher in the WBI group, healthy lifestyle changes were observed in both groups. Body mass index decreased by almost 2 points, with the 10% weight loss target reached in 20% of WBI cases and 15% 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% weight targets. Both groups experienced decreases in liver enzymes, but they normalized more frequently in WBI.

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“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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