Weight Watchers: A More Effective Way To Lose Weight?


A recent study released by The Lancet showed that the Weight Watchers program may actually be more effective than a weight loss program from a primary care doctor.

In April 2010, Oscar winner and Hollywood superstar Jennifer Hudson became the spokesperson of Weight Watchers weight loss program - without divulging exactly how much weight she lost with the program, it was clear the program was working just by looking at her. And now, it seems that Weight Watchers may actually prove to be a more effective weight loss plan than weight loss guidance from your primary care physician.

weight watcher program better than primary care weight loss
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In a recent report released by the journal Lancet, a European study funded by Weight Watchers, assigned approximately half of the 772 overweight or obese participants to either the Weight Watchers program or a weight loss plan provided by a primary care physician. Time.com reports that 87% of the participants were women with an average age of 47 and average body mass index (BMI) of 31. BMI is used to approximate the amount of body fat: 25+ is considered overweight and 30+ is considered obese.

The year long study consisted of half of the volunteers being on a free 12 month Weight Watchers membership with access to weekly in-person or online meetings. The other half of the study were to attend monthly weight-loss sessions with their primary care doctor in office.

According to LATimes.com, the results from the study showed that the group who were on the Weight Watchers program lost over twice the amount of weight than the group that were asked to attend weight-loss guidance sessions with their doctors: 11.16 pounds vs. 4.96 pounds. Program follow through was also higher with the Weight Watchers group with 61% completing the year long study vs. 58% of the participants who worked with their primary care doctor.

Health.com reported that researchers were surprised not only by how much weight was lost for the group that was assigned the Weight Watchers program but also by how often members attended the meetings. Their conclusion was that programs such as Weight Watchers may be a good option for physicians who have patients that want to lose weight.

The Lancet predicts that by 2030, over half of Americans will be obese which will cause weight-related disease rates to skyrocket as well. This recent study shows that the weight the volunteers in the Weight Watchers program lost also led to bigger reductions in fat mass and waist circumference which may lead to lowered risk for weight-related diseases such as type II diabetes and heart disease.

The Weight Watchers program ties in their PointsPlus program which assigns points to certain foods and teaches participants about a healthier lifestyle with smart eating, the importance of exercise while providing a support group through the weekly meetings. The cost of a yearlong membership is approximately $500.