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Medline (1966 to October 1, 2003), bibliographies of relevant studies, and the publication lists of 2 companies.
Study selection and assessment:
randomised controlled trials (RCTs) or prospective case series of major commercial or organised self help weight loss programmes in the US that provided regular in-person or online counselling for ⩾12 weeks, included only adults, reported number of trial participants, assessed ⩾10 participants, evaluated the programme under the same conditions in which it was offered to the public, and had ⩾1 year of follow up after treatment. Exclusion criteria were studies of self help weight loss approaches based on books, meal replacement plans, …
For correspondence: Dr T A Wadden, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA.
Source of funding: National Institutes of Health.