WeightWatchers 'is the best diet plan': NHS study finds slimmers who attend their classes shed the most weight
Patients lost an average of almost 12lb after a 12-week course, according to research
Company says it does better job of motivating slimmers
01:56 GMT, 20 December 2012
Patsy Kensit was recently unveiled as WeightWatchers Celebrity Ambassador. The diet plan was the most effective at helping patients shed weight in a recent study
If you have resolved to lose weight after Christmas, read on.
An NHS study found that men and women who attended Weight Watchers classes shed more weight than those who went to other slimming clubs.
Weight Watchers also offered the best value for money, the Journal of Public Health reports.
The study was carried out by the NHS in North Somerset to determine to which slimming group its GPs should refer overweight and obese patients.
More than half of primary care trusts in England pay for patients to attend commercial organisations but there has been a lack of information about which works best.
The researchers analysed data on 880 overweight and obese men and women who went along to one of three popular diet groups – Weight Watchers, Slimming World and Rosemary Conley Diet and Fitness Clubs.
After 12 weekly sessions, the Weight Watchers members had lost almost 12lb, on average.
This is significantly more than the 9.3lb shed by the average person attending Slimming World classes, and marginally more than the 11lb lost by those who went to Rosemary Conley’s classes for three months.
Diet plans like WeightWatchers now offer mobile phone apps to help slimmers stay on track when on the move
The analysis also showed the Weight
Watchers members to be 81 per cent more likely to shed 5 per cent of
their weight – an amount judged by experts to make an impact on health –
than those who went to Slimming World.
The authors said the secret of Weight Watchers success may be that people seemed to find its course easier to complete.
Zoe Hellman, the company’s head of public health, said its classes may
do a better job of motivating people, meaning they deviate less from
their diet plan in between classes.
The weekly sessions begin with the infamous ‘weigh-in’, in which members
step on to the scales in a private corner of the room to discover if
their efforts have been successful.
They then learn about healthy eating, including the points-based system
which scores foods according to their protein, carbohydrate, fat and
The study is not the first to conclude that Weight Watchers has an edge.
The Medical Research Council found that people who attended weekly
Weight Watchers sessions, paid for by the National Health Service, lost
an average of 15lb in a year – twice as much as those who simply
received weight-loss advice from their GP.
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