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February/March 2012 (vol. 08/5)

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Research Plus

Weight-loss programmes

A randomised controlled trial of six adult weight-loss programmes (three commercial, three NHS) and a minimal-intervention comparator group finds that a commercial programme (Weight Watchers) is not only the most effective but is also the most cost-effective. All participants (n = 740) had a body mass index above the threshold required for entry into NHS obesity management. Statistically significant weight loss was recorded in each programme, but only two (both commercial) achieved significantly greater weight loss than the comparator at the end of the intervention, and only one after 12 months. Commercial programmes were cheaper (£71–£77 per participant, including administration) than the NHS programmes (£91–113).

British Medical Journal 2011; 343: d6500.

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Occupational Health at Work February/March 2012 (vol. 08/5) pp40