Which Dieting Method Works Best for Losing 20 Pounds?

Dieting method that helps to lose weight
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A new study recently published in the American Journal of Medicine reveals that choosing the right dieting method can make a significant difference for overweight and obese individuals who want to lose 20 pounds.

According to the most recent statistics from the National Institutes of Health, nearly 70 percent of American adults meet the criteria that classify them as being either overweight or obese.

Recommendations made by The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) to combat the obesity epidemic encourages primary care physicians to refer their obese patients to an Intensive Behavioral Therapy (IBT) program under the Affordable Care Act―an intensive, multi-component behavioral intervention that may help individuals achieve weight loss success. Their recommendation is based on the belief that community based weight loss programs such as Weight Watchers can be more successful than DIY weight loss methods.

To address the question of how much more beneficial is a community based weight loss program such as Weight Watchers over a self-help approach, researchers from Baylor College of Medicine in coordination with Weight Watchers, Inc. designed a study that directly compared the results between 292 overweight and obese adults who were either enrolled in Weight Watchers or a DIY weight loss regimen for six months. The Weight Watchers group results were further analyzed comparing the results within of those who used any one or all three of the following components encouraged by Weight Watchers:

• Meeting attendance

• Mobile application use

• Online tool use

What the researchers found was that the study participants who were in the Weight Watchers group were eight times more likely to achieve at least a five percent weight loss result than those assigned to lose weight on a DIY plan.

Furthermore, within the Weight Watchers group the study results revealed that participation/attendance to weekly meetings and the number/level of times the mobile applications and online tools were used during the six month period, the more significant were the weight loss results. A summary of the numbers shows that:

• Attending greater 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.

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• Participants using two access routes frequently each week lost 9.5 lbs.

• Participants using just one of the components lost 9.3 lbs.

• Meeting attendance was the strongest predictor of weight loss compared to usage of mobile applications and online tools.

According to a press release about the study, both the academic researchers and representatives of Weight Watchers, Inc. who participated in the study agreed that taking a community based approach toward weight loss is more successful than going it alone with a DIY weight loss plan.

"This clinical trial demonstrates that when Weight Watchers meetings, mobile applications and online tools are used in combination, the greatest weight loss is achieved," explains lead investigator Craig Johnston, Ph.D., an assistant professor at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston.

"As the nation's largest provider of intensive behavioral therapy, Weight Watchers can provide proven, effective, affordable and convenient treatment to tackle this public health challenge," said Miller-Kovach of Weight Watchers International.

While Weight Watchers has ranked as a top diet for 2013 and a past study by the U.S. News and World Report announced that Weight Watchers ranks No. 1 among all other commercial diet programs for both short-term and long-term weight loss, not all weight loss experts view Weight Watchers as a sensible plan for healthy and sustainable weight loss.

However, for now, research is indicating that programmed weight loss works better than going it alone with self-help weight loss.

The conclusion in the published paper states that their data suggests that the use of Weight Watchers as a community-based provider of weight loss treatment is proven viable due to it results in significantly greater weight loss than those achieved through a self-help approach.

Image Source: Courtesy of PhotoBucket

Reference: “A Randomized Controlled Trial of a Community-based Behavioral Counseling Program” The American Journal of Medicine (16 October 2013); Craig A. Johnston, Stephanie Rost, Karen Miller-Kovach, Jennette P. Moreno and John P. Foreyt.

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