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Weight Loss Competitions Help Battle Obesity

Kathleen Blanchard's picture
weight loss competition

An analysis of the Shape Up Rhode Island 2007 weight loss competition shows that large groups of people were able to lose weight when challenged to do so. Programs like the Biggest Loser have also been successful. The new study supports the notion that weight loss competitions are an effective and inexpensive way to help battle obesity.

The study from The Miriam Hospital and Brown University looked at the results of the Internet based weight loss competition founded by Rajiv Kumar, co-author of the study, and a medical student at the Alpert Medical School. The Shape Up Rhode Island 2007 competition reduced obesity among the participants from 39 percent to 31 percent.

Shape Up Rhode Island is a non-profit group. The 2007 weight loss competition ran from mid-December 2006 to Jan. 28, 2007.

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Rena Wing, lead author of the study and director of the Weight Control and Diabetes Research Center at the Miriam Hospital says, “We evaluated the results and showed that this is an effective way to reach large numbers of people.” Weight loss is easier when shared with others, even one other person.

More than four thousand people (4,717) participated in Shape Up Rhode Island 2007, forming teams; 70.2 percent of the participants remained in the competition for at least twelve weeks. More activity was associated with the greatest amount of weight loss. Those who were heaviest lost the most weight.

Rena Wing says weight loss competitions might be improved by adding health coaches to provide education and teach behavioral changes for people trying to lose weight. They hope to see reports from more programs designed to help large groups of people fight obesity through weight loss competitions; based on the same premise as the Biggest Loser.

Brown University



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