Relationships of the Psychological Influence of Food and Barriers to Lifestyle Change to Weight and Utilization of Online Weight Loss Tools

Martin Binks*, Trevor van Mierlo, Christopher L Edwards
Binks Behavioral Health PLLC, 2801 Canter Drive, Hillsborough, NC 27278, USA

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© Binks et al.; Licensee Bentham Open.

open-access license: This is an open access article licensed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License ( which permits unrestricted, non-commercial use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the work is properly cited.

* Address correspondence to this author at the Binks Behavioral Health PLLC, 2801 Canter Drive, Hillsborough, NC 27278, USA; Tel: (919) 732-5524; Fax: (919) 383-5577; E-mail:



The psychological influence of food (PFS) and perceived barriers to lifestyle change (PBLC) were considered as predictors of body mass index and website tool utilization (TU) in an online weight loss program.

Materials and Methodology:

An archival analysis of all (N = 1361) overweight/obese (BMI M = 31.6 + 6.24 kg/m2), adult (M = 42.0 + 10.72 years) users (82.4% female) of an evidence-based, multidisciplinary Internet weight loss program was performed. Predictor variables included: PFS and PBLC, age, and longest maintained weight loss in relation to 1) BMI 2) TU.


Both PBLC and PFS were correlated with baseline BMI and TU. Regression analyses indicated that only PFS independently predicted BMI (p = .0001) and TU (p = .001) when the model included all predictor variables. One-way ANOVA indicated gender differences on both PBLC and PFS scores (p = .001). Subsequent regression analyses separated by gender showed that in females PFS predicted BMI (p = .0001) and TU (p = .005). For males no variable significantly predicted BMI (p’s > .05) however PBLC did predict TU (p = .008).


Our findings suggest that when developing online weight loss programs clinical characteristics of the user could inform website algorithms to maximize website utilization. Gender differences indicated that for women it may be important to understand how factors related to the psychological influence of food impact utilization of online weight loss programs, however, for men broader barriers to lifestyle change is an important consideration.

Keywords: Adherence, information architecture, Internet, obesity, self-help, utilization, web-based, weight loss.