Health clubs and other fitness companies aren't the only ones offering programs to help people to lose weight. America Online is helping its members prepare for swimsuit season with its 12-week “AOL Takes It Off” fitness and weight loss program. Begun last month, members signed up for the program at AOL Keyword: AOL Takes It Off, where they can find the weekly “Healthy Matters” newsletter, print worksheets to keep track of their activities, find a support group in the Community area, and learn about the special speaker series featuring dietitians, experts and authors.

According to a poll by Harris Interactive, 80 percent of Americans are over their recommended weight. Many of them, however, have found the Internet to be a useful tool in finding helpful weight loss and nutrition information. According to a recent survey by the California HealthCare Foundation, nearly 100 million Americans have gone online to find health-related content, and many of them have specifically sought out diet information.

“AOL is excited to present members with this new program providing a realistic and hands-on online fitness and weight loss plan that allows them to keep track of their progress both online and offline,” said Michelle Madhok, AOL Director of Key Audiences. “In addition, they are able to get the support and help they need from other AOL members who are also working to attain a more healthy lifestyle.”