Worksite-based weight loss plan successful with counseling


Workplace-based weight loss programs which include dietary advice and behavioral counseling appear to be promising for people with significant weight loss goals. A new study from the Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging (HNRCA) at Tufts University showed that people enrolled in their pilot program lost 18 pounds over a six month period compared to a two pound loss by the control group.

Behavioral counseling makes all the difference

“Although previous research has focused on weight loss interventions based in office settings, those studies that we’re aware of report modest weight loss over periods ranging from three months to two years. To the best of our knowledge, our approach is unique because of the inclusion of a strong behavioral component,” said senior author Sai Krupa Das, PhD, Energy Metabolism Laboratory at the USDA HNRCA at Tufts University. “Over the course of the intervention, a counselor with training in both nutrition and behavior modification met at first weekly and later bi-0weekly with the participants as a group during their lunch hour. In these sessions, discussions focused on strategies for menu planning, portion control and managing hunger as well as dealing with stress-related and emotional eating. The participants also received individual support in a weekly e-mail exchange with the counselor.”

Lower weight, bp, cholesterol, and glucose

The test group included men and women who had a BMI putting them in the overweight or obese category. Eighty-four people completed the program while 34 people served as a control group. At the end of the six month program, there was significant improvement in cardiovascular markers as well as diabetes risk markers. Lower total cholesterol, glucose levels and blood pressure also characterized the test group. For the 40 participants who continued on a six month maintenance plan, there was not significant weight re-gain.

Office co-workers also experienced health benefits

“Based on our results, it seemed the weight loss intervention became embedded in the office culture and also helped the weight of people who were not enrolled in the program,” said Susan B. Roberts, PhD, co-author of the study.

Source: Tufts University, MedicalNewsToday


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