May 13, 2009

Program Makes Weight Loss a Success

For people who are trying to maintain weight-loss, face-to-face interaction with a supportive health professional may be the secret ingredient for success. A new study reveals support from nurses is as effective as a more intensive program for helping some lose weight.

Researchers studied 200 women between ages 25 and 70 who had lost 5 percent of their body weight. Most were followed for two years after the initial weight loss. During the study, the participants received nutritional counseling, weigh-in visits with a nurse every two weeks for two years, and a phone call with a nurse on alternate weeks to discuss progress.

Results show even though the nurses had little training in nutrition and exercise, the participants benefitted as much as those involved in a more expensive, intensive program with dietitians and exercise specialists.

"Many participants reported that the weigh-ins and the enthusiastic support provided by the nurse on those occasions and on the telephone were key determinants of their success," write the study authors. They conclude by suggesting that nurse-led programs could easily be introduced in many countries at a fraction of the cost of intensive-support programs.

SOURCE: Canadian Medical Association Journal