Commercial Program Offers More Weight Loss Than Standard Care

Participants in commercial weight loss program lose twice as much than those in standard care

THURSDAY, Sept. 8 (HealthDay News) -- Obese or overweight participants in a commercial weight loss program lose twice as much weight over a 12 month period than those in standard treatment, according to a study published online Sept. 8 in The Lancet.

Susan A Jebb, Ph.D., from MRC Human Nutrition Research in Cambridge, U.K., and colleagues compared weight loss achieved with standard treatment and that achieved after referral to a commercial provider. A total of 772 overweight and obese adults in Australia, Germany, and the United Kingdom were randomly assigned to either 12 months of standard care or free membership to a commercial program (Weight Watchers), and followed up for 12 months.

The investigators found that 230 and 214 participants in the commercial program and standard care group completed the follow-up assessment. The amount of weight lost in the commercial program was twice that lost in the standard care group. At 12 months the mean weight change in the commercial program group was −5.06 kg, −4.06 kg, and −6.65 kg versus −2.25 kg, −1.77 kg, and −3.26 kg for those receiving standard care with last observation carried forward, baseline observation carried forward, and those who completed the 12-month assessment, respectively. No adverse events related to trial participation were reported.

"In three countries, over 12 months, participants referred to the commercial weight loss program lost twice as much weight, and were three times more likely to lose more than 5 percent of initial weight, than those receiving standard care," the authors write.

Several of the study authors disclosed financial ties with the pharmaceutical industry, and Weight Watchers International, which funded the study.

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