Online health advice not always best for offline health


A new study from LiveLighter has revealed Australians are turning to the internet as their preferred source of information and advice on healthy weight and weight loss, with 44% seeking such information online.

In the LiveLighter survey of more than 2,000 Australians aged 25-49, the top three sources of information for healthy weight and weight loss were the internet, their doctor and a dietitian or nutritionist. Findings also revealed 12% of people turn to social media influencers for such information.

LiveLighter Campaign Manager Alison McAleese said our love for the internet is concerning when anyone at all can provide advice online.

 “It is encouraging to see so many Australians are trying to achieve a healthy weight but many are putting their health goals in jeopardy when turning to Dr Google as their number one source of information”, Ms McAleese said.

 “Quick fix diets and restrictive health tips you see on the internet might look like the perfect solution but in reality they are a recipe for disaster. Many online diets or programs are overly restrictive so they’re hard to stick to and don’t help us develop a positive, sustainable relationship with food.”

 Ms McAleese warns Australians when stopping such diets they are likely to fall back into old eating habits and are at risk of regaining weight.

 “Rather than get sucked into the whirlpool of extreme, restrictive diets found online the most effective way to achieve a healthy weight is to focus on choosing nutritious foods and set long-term realistic goals,” Ms McAleese said.

 “This idea might not be as exciting or marketable as the quick fixes online, but you’ll be more likely to remain healthy in the long run.”

 On the plus side, the survey found some Australians are also turning to their doctor (34%) and dietitians and nutritionists (17%) as their go-to source of information and advice on healthy weight and weight loss.

“Given the health implications of obesity it’s important for Australians to have a qualified health professional, empowering them to take control of their own health. It’s encouraging to see Australians feel comfortable turning to their doctor for weight management advice and practical tips,” Ms McAleese said.  

Ms McAleese said health websites run by credible health agencies and government organisations should be the first online port of call for Australians looking for healthy lifestyle information and tips.

LiveLighter, an initiative of the Department of Health WA, offers free online meal planners - to encourage long-lasting, healthy weight loss. Based on the Australian Dietary Guidelines, the meal planner encourages Australians to lead healthier lives by changing what they eat and drink.

What the survey found:

Please enter an image description.

LiveLighter’s top tips:

  • Watch your portion size
  • Avoid sugary drinks
  • Cut back on salt
  • Cut back on alcohol
  • Watch the fats you eat
  • Go for 2 fruit and 5 veg
  • Cut back on sugar
  • Choose health snacks
  • Be active everyday

For more information, resources and tips visit

About LiveLighter© LiveLighter® is a public health education campaign encouraging Australians to lead healthier lives by changing what they eat and drink and being more active.

In Victoria, the campaign is delivered by Cancer Council Victoria and Heart Foundation Victoria.

In Western Australia, the LiveLighter® campaign is delivered by Heart Foundation WA and Cancer Council WA and is funded by the State Government of Western Australia. For more information visit  

For further information, images or interview please contact:

VIC: Clare O’Shea M: 0428252923 E:   

WA: Michelle Weall M: 0430 465 657 E: