Diet and Nutrition

Weight Loss is Easier With a Little Teamwork

Weight Loss is Easier With a Little Teamwork

The results of a new study published in the journal, Obesity, shows that weight loss is influenced by working in a team. The researchers suggest that people who lose 5% of their initial body weight tend to be on the same team. Significant weight loss was seen in people who said that teammates influenced their weight loss.

Researcher Tricia Leahey, with The Miriam Hospital’s Weight Control and Diabetes Research Center and an assistant professor of psychiatry and human behavior at Alpert Medical School of Brown University in Providence, says that people around us always influence our health behaviors. If group of friends decides to lose weight and have healthy food they tend to hold each other accountable for the choice of food. This teamwork is beneficial, but a person is influenced by both healthy and unhealthy choices. Team member who is doing well will motivate others to be consistent on the course.

The study was conducted as a part of the 2009 Shape Up Rhode Island campaign, a 12-week state-wide online weight loss competition. The study had 3,330 overweight or obese participants in 987 teams, with each team having five to eleven members. The teams competed with each other for weight loss and physical activity. The results show that people who lost 5% of the initial body weight, a significant loss when considered from a health perspective, belonged to the same team. Participants who reported that they were influenced by their team mates to lose weight had more significant weight loss. Captains of the team lost more weight than the members as they may be more motivated and engaged in the contest.

Kevin Sloan, the acting psychology director at Beaumont Weight Control Center in Royal Oak, says that couples benefit more when they enter the weight loss efforts together. This is especially true of people who are true team players. People who do much better as a group tend to be more influenced and lose more weight in this initiative.

Louis Aronne, founder and director of the Comprehensive Weight Control Program at New York-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center, says that such a change when in a group is because of the peer pressure. Even if people get together for a workout through web for a virtual weight loss program, people tend to do better. This group dynamics have a negative side too. Those who are not doing well may be de-motivated to pull out of the program altogether.