Fat Lady

We are aware that primary care interventions involving group discussions and counseling could assist in achieving weight loss. On a similar note, professionals from the The Miriam Hospital’s Weight Control and Diabetes Research Center and The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University have revealed that team work may help in attaining weight loss.

The trial is part of the 2009 Shape Up Rhode Island (SURI) campaign, where there were many teams competing in terms of pedometer steps, weight loss and physical activity. Almost 3,330 obese persons, who belonged to any of the 987 teams, were studied. The number of members in each group ranged between 5 and 11.

“We know that obesity can be socially contagious, but now we know that social networks play a significant role in weight loss as well, particularly team-based weight loss competitions. In our study, weight loss clearly clustered within teams, which suggests that teammates influenced each other, perhaps by providing accountability, setting expectations of weight loss, and providing encouragement and support,” commented lead author Tricia Leahey, Ph.D., of The Miriam Hospital and Alpert Medical School.

As per the outcomes, people belonging to the same team who engaged in weight loss practices with their companions shed more kilos. Social influence of team mates came forward as an important factor promoting weight loss.

Participants who believed that their team mates encouraged them to lose weight, apparently lost 20% more body mass. Moreover, team captains seemed to lose more weight than the members possibly due to greater involvement in the group. Future studies may allow all team participants to share leadership duties.

The study is published in the journal, Obesity.