Referring to weight loss centres works

A STUDY of overweight and obese adults has found that patients referred to a commercial weight loss provider lost twice as much weight as those managed in primary care.

The first of its kind, the study tracked 772 patients with a BMI of 27–35 in a parallel group, non-blinded, randomised controlled trial in GP practices in Australia, Germany and the UK.

Half the patients were randomly assigned to receive 12 months of standard treatment in primary care as defined by each country’s national guidelines, while the other half were referred from primary care into a commercial 12-month free weight loss program – Weight Watchers – which provided financial support for the trial.

While both groups lost weight, in the commercial group 61% completed the program, losing an average of 5.06 kg, while in the standard care group 54% completed the program, losing an average of 2.25 kg.

Participants in the commercial program

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