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Baylor College Of Medicine Researchers Find Community-Based Weight Loss Intervention Yields Greater Weight Loss Than Self-Help Approach

NEW YORK, Oct. 15, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- A new randomized controlled trial conducted by Baylor College of Medicine researchers and published today as an Article in Press in The American Journal of Medicine finds that overweight and obese adults following a community-based weight loss intervention, namely Weight Watchers, lost significantly more weight than those who tried to lose weight on their own (10.1 lbs. vs. 1.3 lbs. at six months). Those in the Weight Watchers group were provided with three access routes – group meetings, mobile applications, and online tools – and further analysis found those who used all three access routes together lost the most weight.

(Photo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20131015/NY96479-INFO)

Of the 292 overweight and obese adults who participated in the six-month trial, those assigned to the Weight Watchers group were eight times more likely to achieve at least a five percent weight loss than those assigned to lose weight on their own. The five percent weight loss threshold is important because, according to the CDC, it is the amount associated with improved health markers, such as cardiovascular risk factors and blood sugar levels.

While there are more than 80 peer reviewed publications that establish the efficacy of the Weight Watchers community-based approach, this is the first study that included the three complementary ways to access the program – meetings, mobile applications and online tools – in the study design.

Among the 147 participants assigned to the  Weight Watchers group, those using all three access routes to a high degree (defined as more than 50 percent of the weekly meetings and using the mobile applications and/or online tools two or more times a week) had the greatest weight loss at 19 lbs. Those using two access routes to a high degree lost 9.5 lbs. and those using one lost 9.3 lbs. Meeting attendance was the strongest predictor of weight loss compared to usage of the other access routes.

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