In the journal Obesity, there’s an interesting study about Weight Watchers that’s making the news rounds.
From ABC News:
Commercial weight-loss programs like Weight Watchers may be just as effective in losing weight as clinical programs, and the key ingredient to success in both programs is buddying up, according to a new study published Tuesday in the journal Obesity.
In the study, 141 overweight and obese adults were randomly assigned into one of three groups — a weight-loss behavioral program led by a health professional, or Weight Watchers, led by peers who had achieved their own weight-loss success, or a combination of both programs.
Overweight and obese adults who participate in any of the three weight-loss treatments that involved group counseling, whether it was with a health professional or with peers, as well as physical activity and diet change lost a significant amount of weight nearly a year later, the study found.
“When people who are working on a similar problem get together, they can support each other so they don’t feel alone in this weight-loss journey,” said Angela Pinto, assistant professor of psychology at Baruch College of the City University of New York and lead researcher.
“With the group idea, there’s a sense of belonging,” said Pinto, adding that participants may be more likely to complete their weight-loss goal when others are working with them.
From LA Times:
In a head-to-head contest pitting a pair of psychologist-led “behavioral weight loss” programs against a 48-week membership to Weight Watchers, a new study found that subjects participating in the ubiquitous commercial program stuck with their regimen longer and shed more pounds.
Compared with people who met regularly with a professional counselor, those assigned to Weight Watchers were more likely to lose at least 10% of their body weight by the 48-week mark. On this measure, Weight Watchers also bested a hybrid program that researchers had expected to be the most effective — a 12-week introductory course led by a clinical psychologist to jump-start subjects’ weight loss, followed by 36 weeks of Weight Watchers.
The study, published Tuesday in the journal Obesity, suggests that physicians scrambling for ways to counsel overweight and obese patients may be best served by referring them to well-established commercial programs with a track record of working.