Join a program!

A new study shows that people who joined Weight Watchers lost more weight over a year than folks managed for weight loss by their primary care physicians. We’ve previously noted that doctors often have difficulty and limited success in counseling their patients to lose weight.

I was fortunate to be able to spend 2 weeks at the Structure House weight loss program in Durham NC, getting a jump start (no magic!  no gimmicks!) on my 18 month, 120 lbs weight loss.

Says US News and World Report about the study:

Those who stuck with their standard diet lost an average of about 7 pounds, while those who attended Weight Watchers shed nearly 15 pounds on average…

The researchers suggested that the structure of the commercial program — including group support, weekly weighing, instruction about diet and physical activity, and motivation — can be a clinically useful tool for battling overweight and obesity on a large scale.

Dr John Ellis MD

Board-certified anesthesiologist, with expertise in cardiovascular anesthesia and the implications of obesity and sleep apnea in anesthesia. See for professional information. Dr. Ellis has used the strategies in here to: (1) lose 120 lbs over 18 months, (2) stop all antihypertensive medicines, and (3) no longer need CPAP treatment for sleep apnea.

One Comment:

  1. Dr. Sharma’s always excellent, medically-focused blog has a number of important perspectives on this study.
    He suggests that the people in the study are basically young, healthy, barely obese women, for whom weight loss has not been shown to improve health. He’d want to see Weight Watchers results in people with medical problems – people that need to be managed by doctors for their diabetes, sleep apnea, high blood pressure, etc anyway.
    I think the combination of a group plus medical treatment for people with health problems might be best. When I was at the Structure House in Durham NC, they had a special diabetes program that combined the 2 approaches.

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