Weight Watchers diet more successful than GP advice

By Admin
According to a new study carried out by researchers from the University of Birmingham, commercial diets such as Weight Watchers and Slimming World help...

According to a new study carried out by researchers from the University of Birmingham, commercial diets such as Weight Watchers and Slimming World help people to lose more weight than if they were to follow advice from their GP or the UK’s NHS.

Other research, carried out by US News and World Report, has also found that out of eight commercially available weight loss programmes, Weight Watchers is the most successful.

It is thought the flexibility Weight Watchers offers dieters is the reason behind its success; its unique ProPoints system allows people to eat whatever they wish as long as they do not exceed their daily and weekly points allowance.

Meanwhile, the Birmingham study found that Weight Watchers is also a much cheaper dieting option than diet and fitness advice sessions or programmes implemented by NHS dieticians.

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The authors of the study estimate if the NHS paid for people to attend 12 hour long commercial diet sessions it would cost around £55, roughly the same as one advice with a GP lasting just 12 minutes.

Health experts have now spoken out saying it would be more effective to spend public money on encouraging people to follow commercial diets.

The research investigated the weight loss progress of 740 obese study participants who were practicing a variety of dieting techniques.

The programmes investigated were Weight Watchers, Slimming World, Rosemary Conley, a group-based dietetics programme, one to one counselling with a GP and one to one counselling at a pharmacy.

After 12 weeks of following the diets or medical advice, all groups had seen results of weight loss, but it varied from a loss of 4.4kg for the Weight Watchers dieters to 1.4kg for those adhering to GP advice.  

One year down the line, all options had resulted in significant weight loss, apart from the advice services offered by GPs and pharmacies.

Weight Watchers was also found to be the most-attended diet session.

Writing in the British Medical Journal, the authors of the study said: “Commercially provided weight management services are more effective and cheaper than primary care based services led by specially trained staff, which are ineffective.”

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