Research: Diet participation increases success.


Greater attendance in weight loss program predicts weight loss.

Weight loss fail.
Weight loss fail.

Wait, did I read this, right? If I stick to my diet, I will be more successful? Tell me it is not so. It seems so much like common sense. The fact is that even though it appears like an easy concept, many of us fail to meet the mark and not only fail to lose weight but gain pound after pound.

There is a considerable commonality in long-term weight-loss among people referred to obesity treatment programs. Nearly everyone fails to lose weight. It is unclear whether attendance to face to face sessions in the early weeks of a weight loss program is an independent predictor of long-term success.

The good news is researchers in a 2020 study sought to look at this [1]. Researchers looked to investigate whether the frequency of attendance at a community weight-loss program over the first 12 weeks was associated with long-term weight change. It seems so simple, but yet so many of us fail to lose weight.

Participants were randomized to receive brief support only or a weight-loss program for 12-weeks or 52-weeks. For every session attended in the first 12 weeks, average weight loss was 1/4 kg lost per session. Analysis by attendance group found only those attending 10-12 sessions had significantly greater weight loss at 16 lbs at 12 months or 10 pounds at 24 months when compared to the control group. Both of which were significant.

The bottom line: Greater attendance at a community weight-loss program in the first 12 weeks is associated with enhanced weight-loss for up to 24 months. Regular attendance at a program could be used as a criterion for the continued provision of weight-loss services to maximize the cost-effectiveness of interventions. More studies are needed, but this is promising.


  1. [1]
    C. Piernas et al., “Greater attendance to a community weight loss programme over the first 12 weeks predicts weight loss at two years,” Apollo – University of Cambridge Repository, Jun. 2020, doi: 10.17863/CAM.53711. [Online]. Available:
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About the Author

I am a family physician who has served in the US Army. In 2016, I found myself overweight, out of shape, and unhealthy, so I made a change to improve my health. This blog is the chronology of my path to better health and what I have learned along the way.

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