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CNN Today

New Year's Resolution: A Guide to Internet Weight Loss

Aired January 6, 2000 - 1:41 p.m. ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

NATALIE ALLEN, CNN ANCHOR: It being the new year and all, some of the hottest Internet sites help people lose weight. Well, today, former Surgeon General C. Everett Koop launched a site, Shape Up and Drop 10. Another site shows you what you would look like if you were thinner.

CNN Interactive correspondent Allison Tom joins us with a guide to Internet weight loss.

Allison, what you got?

ALLISON TOM, CNN INTERACTIVE CORRESPONDENT: Natalie, there's a number of different things. In fact, there's a trend that's emerging now on the Internet where a number of different Web sites are popping up in regards to diet information. The first one that just launched today is Dr. Koop's Web site, and this is here at shapeup.org. This Web site will give you information about nutrition as well as an assessment here. And here you can find out all the details about your personal health and any specific information about what kind of diets you might be interested in.

If you're a first-time visitor to this site, you might want to click here, fill in your height, as well as your weight, your age, your gender, continue on with this particular Web site, and it'll give you an idea of certain selected kinds of foods you might want to eat during your particular diet. Again, this information is just merely a gauge to give you an idea of what things might be good for your health, and you can take that as you like.

Now, another site that has also come up is one called eFit.com. This site is put together by the health and fitness network, and they offer a number of different resources for consumers to go to. The most unique part of this particular Web site is the morph-over, which we'll show you right here. And this is a free service that they just launched this week. What you can do here is send into this particular Web site -- again, that's eFit.com -- you can send them a before and an after picture of what you will look like. Within about a month, they will e-mail you this picture back and show you roughly a realistic gauge as to how much weight you might be able to lose, according to your profile, which, again, includes any of your diet as well as how much exercise you do on a regular basis. So that's a new feature they offer.

And then, also, eDiets.com is a site that offers a number of different other resources for consumers to go to as well. Be aware that this site does charge a fee for consumers to use, but they do offer a few other things for free, such as a newsletter as well as a number of different message boards where people write in and they say different things about sites that they've used, both good and bad. So that can be valuable information for consumers.

One thing that is a really nice feature on their site is that they offer a realtime chat with any of their representatives there, so if you have a question about any of their material that's on their Web site or where you can go for more information, you can find that out as well.

Now, the things to keep in mind when using any medical Web sites on the Internet: You need to research the company and know who you're dealing with to make sure that you have a reputable source as to where this information is coming from. Also check the dates because a lot of this information changes quite quickly and you want to make sure you're getting the most updated information. And last but not least, always consult your physician, especially if you have any questions about the material you find on the Internet.

Natalie, back to you.

ALLEN: And, Allison, do you have the information? Do you know whether these sites are getting lots of hits this time of year?

TOM: Yes, a lot of these sites I wouldn't necessarily say they're getting more hits this time of year compared to any other time. They are getting quite a few. Since most of these are recent, they're just starting to come around.

Again, people can e-mail into these sites if they have any questions. Primarily, use them as a resource, not as, you know, the word for how you should use or follow your diet.

ALLEN: All right, Allison Tom.

Thanks, Allison.

TOM: You bet.

ALLEN: Always interesting.

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