Will you lose more pounds at a bigger diet center?

13:30, July 05, 2010      

Email | Print | Subscribe | Comments | Forum 

Weight loss loves company, hints new research.

For every additional 10 people signed up at a clinical center for a weight loss trial, the average person loses half a percent more weight, the study found.

Dr. Arne Astrup of the University of Copenhagen in Denmark and his colleagues delved into a database of 22 weight-loss centers across five countries, gathered in a previous large clinical trial.

Each center served between 4 and 85 men and women, and all of the more than 600 total participants were instructed to follow a nutritionally balanced diet of 800 to 1,000 calories a day. (Typical recommendations for non-dieters range from 1,600 to 2,400 calories per day, depending on gender, age, and level of activity.)

The average participant started the trial weighing 242 pounds, and lost 24 pounds (10 percent of their body weight) after 2 months on the low-calorie diet. Average weight loss among the centers ranged from 6 percent to 12 percent.

Taking into account age, initial body mass index (a measure of weight in relation to height) and sex, the researchers found that 10 more participants at a center translated into a modest half a percent climb in weight loss for the average person at that center. An average 200-pound woman, for example, would have dropped one extra pound over those 2 months.

The idea to investigate such a link came to the team of Danish and Belgian researchers after they noticed the relative performance of weight loss, or bariatric, surgeons. Those who have more experience, they write in the journal Obesity, tend to provide safer and more effective treatments.

Weight loss center size may reflect quality of care in a similar way, Astrup told Reuters Health by email. He noted that investigators, study coordinators and dieticians working at weight loss centers serving large numbers of participants would tend to be more experienced than those at smaller centers.

While he notes that the study is "the first of its kind," Pedro Teixeira of the Technical University of Lisbon, in Portugal, is concerned that 2 months is too short to determine a diet's effectiveness.

Teixeira, who was not involved in the study, also suggests that other factors left unaccounted for could explain some of the differences seen across centers. In separate studies, he has identified a set of weight loss predictors, including self-motivation and realistic expectations.

The researchers, too, point to other possible explanations for their preliminary findings. A larger center may have a larger pool of subjects, for example, allowing them to recruit more highly motivated individuals than smaller centers.

Regardless, if an obese or overweight person seeking treatment is given the option, "larger centers with more patient flow are probably the best," advised Astrup. "Go for the big ones."

Source: China Daily/Agencies


  • Do you have anything to say?


Special Coverage
  • Premier Wen Jiabao visits Hungary, Britain, Germany
  • From drought to floods
Major headlines
Editor's Pick
  • On Sept. 28, tourists travel around the Mingshashan Scenic Area in Dunhuang, Gansu province by camel. With the National Day vacation right around the corner, more and more tourists from home and abroad are going to Dunhuang. Riding on a camel, they travel in the desert to enjoy the cities rare form of natural scenery. (Xinhua/Zhang Weixian)
  • Chinese forest armed forces work together with forest firefighters on Sept. 28. (Xinhua/Chai Liren)
  • Photo taken on Sept. 29, 2011 shows strong wind blows trees in Sanya, south China's Hainan Province. Typhoon Nesat heads towards south China and is moving at an average wind speed of 20 km per hour toward the west coast of China's Guangdong Province. (Xinhua/Hou Jiansen)
  • A fallen tree is seen on a road in Qionghai, south China's Hainan Province, Sept. 29, 2011. Typhoon Nesat was predicted to land in Hainan later Thursday, bringing heavy rainfalls to the island. (Xinhua/Meng Zhongde)
  • Arash Kamalvand (L) of Iran spikes the ball during the semifinal against South Korea at the 16th Asian Men's Volleyball Championship in Tehran, Iran, Sept. 28, 2011. Iran won 3-1 to advance to the final. (Xinhua/Ahmad Halabisaz)
  • A man visits "Thy Word Is Truth, the Bible Ministry Exhibition of the Protestant Church in China", during its opening at Mount Vernon Place United Methodist Church in Washington DC, capital of the United States, Sept. 28, 2011. Through the Bible's various Chinese versions, ancient or modern, as well as pictures, paintings, calligraphy, art works and historical documents, the exhibition was expected to give an overall understanding of how Bible was brought into China, how it was translated, published, distributed and loved. (Xinhua/Zhang Jun)
Hot Forum Discussion