Weight Loss Competitions Produce Encouraging Results
weight loss competitions appear to be a potentially successful weapon
in the battle against obesity. These programs can produce weight loss
in large numbers of people at minimal cost, according to a new study
from The Miriam Hospital and Brown University.
Wing,professor of psychiatry and human behavior at the Waren Alpert
Medical School of Brown University, and her colleagues came to their
conclusions after evaluating Shape Up Rhode Island 2007, a statewide
Internet-based weight loss competition conceived by Rajiv Kumar, a
study co-author and a medical student at the Alpert Medical School.
evaluated the results and showed that this is an effective way to reach
large numbers of people," said Wing, the study’s lead author.
Wing is director of the Weight Control and Diabetes Research Center at
the Miriam Hospital.
Up Rhode Island reduced the percentage of patients in the study who
were obese from 39 percent to 31 percent. Researchers found that
individuals who increased their activity the mostachieved the best
findings will be published in a print issue of Obesity set for early
May. An earlier version ran online at the Obesity website Jan. 29.
Up Rhode Island, a nonprofit group launched in 2005, is designed to
include teams that compete for weight loss, pedometer steps and
exercise minutes. Enrollment for the 2007 competition on which the
Obesity study is based, began in mid-December 2006 and concluded on
Jan. 28, 2007. Competitors paid $15 to register with 62 percent having
the fee paid by their employer. Anyone with medical conditions that
could affect their ability to participate or compete safely obtained a
doctor’s note first.
study looked at 4,717 people who participated in Shape Up Rhode
Island’s 2007 effort, which Kumar designed to feature team
competition in an effort to encourage more exercise and weight loss.
initial participants, 3,311 people or 70.2 percent of participants
completed at least 12 weeks of the study. Participants who were heavier
at the start of the program lost more weight, as did those who
generated greater jumps in their physical activity.
and her co-authors said the study suggests team-based weight loss
competition can promote modest weight loss in large numbers of people.
They hop the study will promote reporting of results in other similar
authors also suggest possible improvements, such as the inclusion of
diet and exercise education, teaching ways to change behavior or
offering access to health coaches.
For more information on Brown University, visit www.brown.edu.