Weight Watchers vs. Doctor's Office
According to Jennifer Lovejoy, president of the Obesity Society in the United States, good commercial weight-loss programs have definite benefits for some people. In a recent study 772 overweight people in England, Germany, and Australia participated in a rather unique weight-loss study. Half the group was assigned to a Doctors-care group and got one-on-one diet and exercise advice from professionals in their offices once a month. The other half were given a free year membership to Weight Watchers, and they attended, on average, three meetings per month.
After one year, dieters lost twice as much weight when they went to Weight Watchers than they did when they got advice from their Doctor. Weight Watchers lost an average of 15 lbs vs. 7 lbs for the doctor-care group. The study failed to indicate why this occurred, the researchers simply presented the results.
However, they did mention that this study has significant implications in the treatment of obesity in that most health care systems physicians have limited time to spend with patients and may not even be reimbursed for multiple visits required to help people lose weight. (*Note, a weight loss of 10% lover the risk of diabetes and heart diseases.)
Some of the findings after 12 months:
- 61% of Weight Watchers completed the study vs. 51% of the doctor-care group
- 31% of Weight Watchers lost 10% or more of their starting weight
- 13% of the doctor-care group lost 10% of their starting weight
- Weight Watchers lost for an average of 9 months until their weight stabilized, while the doctor care group lost for about 4 months.
The research was funded by a grant from Weight Watchers, but was designed and conducted independently.