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New Study Shows College Students’ Weight Gain Can be Minimized With an Online Program

A new study published today in the Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior points out that the typical weight gain by most students during their four years in college can be limited through an online weight management class.

Since college students are vulnerable to weight gain when transitioning from high school and the home environment, researchers at the University of Vermont conducted a feasibility study offering a one-credit online weight management program to undergraduates.

“There is a need for interventions specific to this demographic to help facilitate weight loss as well as prevention of weight gain during the college years,” said Beth Casey Gold, MS, RD, one of the co-authors of the study and now director of research of Vtrim® (vtrimonline.com), a stand alone company spun out of the University of Vermont. “One positive result of the study was to show we could successfully replicate an online class model at multiple universities,” Gold said.

The University of Vermont study shows that a 12-week online class is a practical way to help its students achieve their weight or health goals. Weight loss interventions for college students are scarce and the college credit environment provides a feasible way to teach lifelong weight management behaviors while keeping students engaged.

Overweight or obese students reported losing an average of 5.1 pounds in 12 weeks. Twenty-three percent of students reported losing more than five percent of their baseline weight and 10.1 percent reported losing more than seven percent, both markers of clinically meaningful weight loss that can decrease risk of developing certain diseases, particularly diabetes.

Since this study was conducted, corporations and organizations have also offered Vtrim as an employee benefit. “Vtrim is the nation's leading online weight management program, and as innovators, we look to partner with progressive universities, corporations and other institutions to take on this national challenge and offer proven weight management to students and employees, on campus and in the workplace,” said Krista M.C. Conley, CEO of Vtrim.

About Vtrim

Vtrim (vtrimonline.com) is a rapidly growing, majority woman-owned company based in Middlebury, VT. It has commercialized an online implementation of clinical treatment for obesity developed in the University of Vermont Department of Nutrition and Food Sciences. The Vtrim program is unique in that it offers online behavior modification education, peer support, and expert feedback designed to empower participants to change unhealthy behaviors and achieve weight losses that will significantly impact disease risk associated with obesity.

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