University Of Birmingham Logo In the realm of bariatric surgeries and pharmacies to overcome obesity, can commercial weight management programs help? A study by scientists at the University of Birmingham has put forth that commercial weight management programs are supposedly budget-friendly and effective in reducing weight.

The investigators evaluated the efficacy of different weight management programs such a commercial regimes, primary care services along with a control set. The study constituted nearly 740 patients in the age-group 18 and above who had an elevated BMI over the past 15 months. Duration of the trial was from January to May 2009.

“Our study shows that 12-week weight management courses are effective in producing clinically significant weight loss in a proportion of their clients. Almost one third of people allocated to the Weight Watchers group achieved a clinically important five per cent reduction in body weight at one-year follow-up. This level of weight loss has been shown to reduce the risk of progression to diabetes,” reported Dr Kate Jolly and team.

At the end of 12 weeks, all the programs seemed to achieve substantial weight loss unlike the one-to-one general practice and pharmacy programs. A group known as Weight Watchers was apparently the only team showing greater weight loss than the control group. Moreover, the primary care programs were also expensive. The team concluded that general practitioners should guide patients into commercial slimming groups rather than other alternatives.

The analysis titled ‘The Lighten Up’ is published in the November 4 issue of the British Medical Journal.