Long-term response to Weight Watchers diet

Researchers in Europe and Australia compared weight loss with standard treatment vs a commercial provider (Weight Watchers).

First, the details.

  • 772 overweight and obese adults were recruited by primary care practices in Australia, Germany, and the UK.
  • Participants were randomly assigned to a treatment group for 12 months.
    • Standard care
    • Free membership to a commercial program (Weight Watchers)
  • Weight change over 12 months was recorded.

And, the results.

  • 61% of participants in the commercial program and 54% in the standard care group completed the 12-month assessment.
  • Participants in the commercial program lost twice as much weight compared to those in the standard care group: -5 kg (-11 lb) vs -2 kg (-4.5 kg), respectively.
  • No adverse events were reported.

The bottom line?

The authors concluded, “Referral by a primary healthcare professional to a commercial weight loss program that provides regular weighing, advice about diet and physical activity, motivation, and group support can offer a clinically useful early intervention for weight management in overweight and obese people that can be delivered at large scale.”

Weight Watchers International supported the study.

9/8/11 21:53 JR

Hi, I’m JR

John Russo, Jr., PharmD, is president of The MedCom Resource, Inc. Previously, he was senior vice president of medical communications at, a complementary and alternative medicine website.