New Study Demonstrates Greater Fitness Benefits of Comprehensive Weight Loss Program Over Just Exercise Alone
of a new study, which evaluated the changes in cardiovascular fitness
from a comprehensive weight-loss program compared to exercise alone,
demonstrated a significant improvement in the group that participated
in the weight-loss program.
participating in the comprehensive weight-loss program – Weight
Watchers (WW) – which included a balanced energy deficit diet,
exercise and weekly meetings, showed improvements in overall exercise
capacity and cardiovascular fitness level. The exercise only group (EO)
did not. In addition, weight decreased significantly in the WW group,
but not in the EO group.
and lack of physical activity are major risk factors for coronary heart
disease (CHD). The average person does not get enough exercise.
According to the U.S. Surgeon General, more than 60 percent of U.S.
adults do not engage in the recommended amount of activity and about 25
percent are not active at all. According to the American College of
Sports Medicine (ACSM), which publishes exercise recommendations for
healthy adults, the goals of an activity plan include the maintenance
of muscular strength and endurance, joint flexibility and cardio
respiratory fitness. One of the most common, and most accurate, ways to
assess aerobic fitness levels is to measure the amount of oxygen
consumed by the body as an activity is performed. This method is
expressed in studies as the percentage of maximum oxygen consumption,
data of this ongoing study were presented for the first time by a team
of researchers, led by James Rippe, MD, Associate Professor of
Medicine, Tufts University School of Medicine, Founder and Director,
Rippe Lifestyle Institute, at the North American Association for the
Study of Obesity (NAASO) annual meeting in Vancouver, Canada.
fitness is a predictor of heart disease," explained Dr. Rippe. "The
small, but significant increase in VO2max seen in the WW group after 12
weeks is likely to provide a degree of cardioprotection that is
superior to exercise alone." He added, "We are very excited about the
potential impact of these findings and believe that it is due to the
better compliance of the support provided in the WW group, as well as
the healthier diet that is intrinsic to a comprehensive weight loss
program." Previous studies have shown that for every 10 percent
increase in cardiovascular fitness, the risk of heart disease decreases
overweight or obese individuals enrolled in a 12-week weight-loss study
and were randomly assigned into one of two groups – Exercise Only
(EO), where participants were given an exercise prescription from an
exercise physiologist according to the Surgeon General's
recommendations on exercise, and Weight Watchers (WW), where
participants were enrolled in Weight Watchers, a comprehensive
weight-loss program that includes both structured diet and exercise
components and weekly meetings. The exercise recommendation for the WW
group was comparable to the exercise prescription given to the EO
VO2max significantly increased in the WW group (23.75 1 5.74 vs 25.55 1
6.35 ml/kg/min; p<0.001), but not in the EO group (25.57 1 7.20 vs
25.65 1 6.51 ml/kg/min; p=NS). Weight also decreased significantly in
the WW group (182.58 1 24.14 vs 173.64 1 23.08 lbs, p<0.05) but not
in the EO group (173.331 21.45 vs 172.42 1 20.07 lbs, p=NS).
that VO2max increased in the WW group only might suggest better
compliance to the protocol, facilitated by the meeting-based support
system inherent in the program," explained Dr. Rippe. "We hope to
dispel the myth that exercise is the only key to weight loss or fitness
by sharing the information about the benefits of a comprehensive weight
loss program, so that people understand the important role of physical
activity." He added, "This study confirms the recommendation of the
Weighing the Options report from the Institute of Medicine, which
states that a comprehensive weight loss program is the most effective
way of losing weight in a healthy way."
Understanding the Benefits of a Comprehensive Weight Loss Program
the Institute of Medicine's Weighing the Options, the basic elements of
obesity treatment should include self-monitoring, goal setting,
exercise, nutrition education, stress management and social support.
weight loss comes from taking a holistic view of all components so that
together, in a science-based approach that people can follow, a
successful program will be able to:
- Produce a rate of weight loss of up to two pounds per week;
- Guide food
choices that not only reduce calories, but meet current scientific
recommendations for nutritional completeness and reduced disease risk;
- Construct an activity plan that provides the full range of weight- and health-related benefits thatexercise offers;
- Be sustainable.
research continues to support that, when it comes to weight loss,
following a self-administered food plan does not provide the same
results as a comprehensive approach. That is why, time and again, a
comprehensive weight loss program, one that includes a diet plan,
exercise, new thinking skills and the support of a weekly meeting, is
proven to be the most effective.
For more information on Weight Watchers, visit www.weightwatchers.com