As parents are fond of noting, maybe you shouldn’t jump off a cliff just because all of your friends are doing so, but if you have pals that are seeing results from joining a weight loss program, you might want to join them. Not in the cliff-jumping, Weight Watchers or something like it. A new study says people in such programs are often just as successful or more so than people who only rely on medical advice from a doctor to lose weight.
The study was published in the journal Obesity, and found that people enrolled in Weight Watchers lost as much weight on average as those who sought advice from a medical professional.
From CBS Atlanta:
“Group-based weight-loss treatment produced weight loss, whether delivered by a professional or peer counselor,” Angela Marinilli Pinto, the study’s author and assistant professor of psychology at Baruch College of the City University of New York, told HealthDay. “When people are in a group with others on the same journey, they feel there is that element of, ‘OK, this worked for him or her, perhaps it will work for me. Perhaps I can give it a try.’”
Researchers assigned 141 overweight people to three groups — one group went for treatment with a medical professional, the second joined Weight Watchers and the last did a combination of both. When all was said and done, the first group lost an average of 11.9 pounds; Weight Watchers participants lost 13.2 pounds on average and those who did the combo shed an average of 7.9 pounds.
It’s not just the act of signing up and counting points, say researchers. The group atmosphere that comes with attending more meetings in a group seems to contribute to a more successful weight loss experience. And hey, belonging to Weight Watchers costs around $10 a week while a doctor’s program would likely cost more in many cases.