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POSTED: Thursday, June 11, 2009 - 7:54am

UPDATED: Wednesday, February 17, 2010 - 2:24pm

E-mail program helps participants shed the pounds...

Logging on to your computer could be the key to lopping off that extra weight.

Kaiser Permanente researchers recently studied the effects of an e-mail intervention program.

About half of the 787 participants, all office workers, received an e-mail every week with reminders to set small, but attainable goals.

The other half acted as a control group.

"The beauty of this kind of e-mail system is it's like e-mail house calls once a week, in other words a message goes out in a very tailored specific message for you on how you can become physically more active," noted researcher Dr. David Sobel.

The convenient e-mails paid off.

Overall employees ate more fruits and vegetables, cut back on saturated fats and exercised more.

The study sends a strong message to employers: These programs could save them big bucks.

"If everyone increased physical activity level as much as people in this study, especially the people who needed to do that, the payoffs to the employers would be extraordinary in terms of decreased disease and disability," said Dr. Sobel.

Thanks to the e-mail program some employees went from no exercise to working out at least an hour a week.

Employees also stuck with their new healthier habits at least four months after the e-mail program ended.

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