We know that 78 million Americans are obese—(coincidentally, that’s also the number of baby boomers in this country). Millions have tried Weight Watchers and succeeded, with a brand “50 years in the making.” Now the company has shown that weight loss is better together.
Weight Watchers recently partnered with scientists at Baylor College of Medicine for a randomized controlled trial. The results underscore why making behavioral change is so difficult to do alone. Participants who attended meetings, used the new website and Weight Watchers mobile apps—and were most engaged—succeeded the most in the weight loss program, according to the study published in The American Journal of Medicine.
Support yourself with a group
The bottom line: Using a program like Weight Watchers, called a community-based weight loss intervention, is more effective than just using advice or information about weight loss and trying to make it work for yourself. The Weight Watchers group lost 10.1 lbs., vs. 1.3 lbs. at six months for those not in the group.
Participants were eight times more likely to lose at least 5 percent of their body weight and nearly nine times more likely to lose 10 percent of their body weight after six months of participation in Weight Watchers, compared with participation in a self-help group.
That “5 percent” is a key number, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, since that’s the level at which risk factors may decrease—cardiovascular and blood sugar, for example.
Friends for life changes
Having a “buddy” for support has long been shown to improve results when we’re seeking to make a behavioral change. Consider Alcoholics Anonymous, for example. Members trying to make any change know some days will be good and some bad—and it’s valuable to share those experiences to avoid feeling isolated and then depressed. It sounds pretty basic, but getting kudos when you’ve lost some weight, and “You can do it!” when you haven’t, can make all the difference.
About the price: for Weight Watchers meetings, Web support and apps, expect to pay approximately $43.
(Photo courtesy FreeDigitalPhotos.net and Stuart Miles.)