Weight lose programs at workplace

July 1st, 2008 - 6:28 pm ICT by Amrit Rashmisrisethi  

People who take part in weight-loss programs to set up by their employers managed to lose to a modest amount of weight compared to co-workers who do not take part.

Obesity has rise in the United States and many other countries in recent decades, including illnesses such as diabetes, heart disease and stroke.

Dr. Michael Benedict of the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine, who led the new research, said relatively few studies have assessed how well these programs work.

“The programs are helpful for at least short-term, modest weight loss in people who actually participate in them,” Benedict said in a telephone interview.

“Part of the problem is getting the people who need it the most to participate in them. A lot of times, health programs really just recruit people who already are doing the right thing,” added Benedict, whose findings were published in the American Journal of Health Promotion.

The programs assessed in the 11 studies lasted from two to 18 months and typically involved education and counseling efforts promoting a more healthful diet and regular exercise.

The compared employees who took part in the programs to co-workers who did not, those in the programs lost weight averaging in a range from 2.2 pounds (1 kg) to 14 pounds (6.4 kg), the researchers said.

Benedict added that because people with jobs spend about half their waking hours at work, workplace weight-loss programs could have a big effect on slowing the obesity epidemic.

But he said the research into the effectiveness of employer-sponsored programs has been spotty. For example, the studies do not indicate whether people who lose weight in these programs are able to keep it off in the long term.

“The overall body of work really is still fairly incomplete,” Benedict said.

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