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Weight Loss at Work

hand next to apples and a computer keyboardWorkplaces that offer weight-loss programs with educational materials may help overweight employees lose weight – and keep it off, while reducing risk factors for heart disease, suggests a new pilot study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

The study included approximately 130 employees at four worksites who signed up to participate in a weight loss program. All the employees were overweight or obese. 

Employees at two of the worksites were wait-listed, acting as the control group. At the other two workplaces, employees completed a six-month weight loss program that included 19 lunch-time sessions with a nutritionist. Sessions focused on portion control, fewer calories, high-fiber and low-glycemic diets, while discussing maintaining or increasing physical activity. Participants also received a weekly email.

At the end of six months, these employees lost an average of 17.5 pounds. The employees showed improvements in blood pressure, blood cholesterol and glucose levels. During that same time, the wait-listed employees at the control sites gained almost two pounds on average.

The intervention employees also kept the weight off during the following six-month maintenance program.

As the authors note, this study shows greater weight loss and benefits than many previous work site weight loss studies. One possible explanation is that these workers were particularly enthusiastic to the idea of losing weight, note the authors.

Source: Salinardi TC, Batra P, Roberts SB, Urban LE, Robinson LM, Pittas AG, Lichtenstein AH, Deckersbach T, Saltzman E, Das SK. ‘Lifestyle intervention reduces body weight and improves cardiometabolic risk factors in worksites.” Am J Clin Nutr. 2013 Apr;97(4):667-76. Epub 2013 Feb 20.

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