Patients who were obese or overweight, when referred to Weight Watchers, lost two times more weight compared to those who were treated by doctors, according to a study published in the journal, Lancet. In this study 772 overweight or moderately obese participants were assigned to two groups – one group got the standard-of-care weight loss advice from the doctor while the other group were referred to weight watchers. About 67% of the participants assigned to the Weight Watchers completed the study successfully, while it was 54% for the group assigned to the doctors.
Results of the study showed that:
- Participants in the Weight Watchers group lost nearly 15 pounds, about 7 pounds more than those who were under the supervision of the primary care provider
- Participants who completed one year with the weight watchers group had three times more chances of losing 5% of the body weight and about 3.5 times more likely to lose 10% of the body weight, when compared to those who were assigned to the doctor
- Among all the patients, those assigned to the weight watchers group lost about 9 pounds, which was about 5 pounds more than those who were assigned to the doctors.
A number of weight loss programs have been shown to be successful in losing weight. Researchers say that some of the aspects of the Weight Watchers program, including regular weigh-ins, advice about diet, and physical activity, motivation, and group support, encourages losing more weight.
According to Weight Watchers' Chief Scientific Officer Karen Miller-Kovach, RD, their success is based on their holistic approach with a healthy diet, supportive environment, cognitive skills, and physical activity. Kate Jolly and Paul Aveyard of the University of Birmingham, U.K, editorialists feel that the Weight Watchers program is an important component of the medical management of obesity in primary care.