Sunday, May 3, 2009

Weight Loss is Easier with Competitions

Results of a new study show that people who enroll in weight competitions lose weight easier. Analysis of the Shape up Rhode Island 2007 weight competition showed encouraging results that weight loss competitions work.

The internet-based program showed that weight loss competitions could help people lose weight at low cost, while targeting large groups of people, helping in the fight against obesity.

Rena Wing, professor of psychiatry and human behavior at the Waren Alpert Medical School of Brown University examined the results of the weight loss competition in Rhode Island. “We evaluated the results and showed that this is an effective way to reach large numbers of people.” The weight loss competition was developed by conceived and implemented by Rajiv Kumar, a study co-author and a medical student at the Alpert Medical School.

The weight loss competition reduced obesity rates from 39 percent to 31 percent. Increases in activity resulted in the greatest amount of weight loss. Shape up Rhode Island was started in 2005. Teams compete for weight loss, pedometer steps and exercise minutes.

Team members who completed at least twelve weeks of the weight loss competition lost a modest amount of weight, and included 70.2 percent of the original participants. Those who were heaviest lost the most amount of weight.

Weight loss competitions encourage people to keep moving, promoting more exercise and weight loss. The researchers hope the study will spawn similar programs that involve large numbers of people in weight loss competitions. Losing weight is easier when performed as a group, and as a competition.

For the weight loss competition, 62 per cent of employers paid the $15 fee for their employees. The current study shows encouraging results for fighting obesity through weight-loss competitions.