Add-On Therapy Doesn't Improve Weight Watchers' Results

Adding professional behavioral program doesn't improve weight loss outcomes for overweight adults

THURSDAY, Oct. 11 (HealthDay News) -- The addition of behavioral weight loss (BWL) treatment to the commercial Weight Watchers (WW) weight-loss program does not improve weight loss outcomes, according to a study published online Oct. 8 in Obesity.

Angela Marinilli Pinto, Ph.D., from Baruch College at the City University of New York in New York City, and colleagues examined whether a novel weight-loss approach combining the concepts of professionally delivered BWL treatment with the existing WW program would result in better weight loss than WW alone. One hundred forty-one overweight and obese adults were randomly allocated to 48 weeks of BWL, 48 weeks of WW, or a combined treatment (CT) consisting of 12 weeks of BWL followed by 36 weeks of WW.

The researchers found no significant differences in the 24-week weight losses between the groups. At 48 weeks, weight losses were greater in the WW than the CT group (median 6.0 versus 3.6 kilograms), with no significant difference for the BWL group compared with either group. Compared with the BWL or CT programs, by 48 weeks, a greater proportion of WW participants had lost 10 percent of baseline weight.

"This study is important because, with almost 70 percent of American adults classified as overweight or obese, there is a need to provide practical treatment solutions that are effective, accessible, and affordable," Pinto said in a statement. "Results of this study demonstrate that the Weight Watchers program can produce clinically meaningful weight losses."

Weight Watchers International provided vouchers for study participants to enroll in the Weight Watchers Program and attend meetings at no cost.

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