Weight Loss Tip: Teamwork may assist with weight loss

Weight Loss Tip 84 - Teamwork may assist with weight lossWeight Loss Tip 84 - Teamwork may assist with weight lossWeight Loss Tip 84 - Teamwork may assist with weight loss

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Committing to weight loss together will up your odds of success. 

Weight Loss Tip 84 - Teamwork may assist with weight lossWeight Loss Tip 84 - Teamwork may assist with weight loss

Weight Loss Tip 84 – Teamwork may assist with weight loss

Exercise couple

Exercise couple

If you are trying to lose weight, consider joining a weight-loss group and competing against others.  Enlist a friend or your spouse to join with you.  We all know that consistency is the key to weight loss success and the peer pressure can help you stay on track.  Having someone to exercise with and remind you not to stray from the plan can only assist you with your weight loss plans.  Teaming up with someone will build a competitive spirit that will exponentially increase your odds of success.  

Is there any evidence from studies to back this up? Team-based internet interventions are increasing in popularity as a way of promoting weight loss in large numbers of individuals.  Given the popularity of social networks and the influence they have on health behavior change, they are a tremendous opportunity to use effects of teammates and social networking to help individuals achieve weight loss.  

A really good program, Shape Up Rhode Island (SURI), collected data that has been used in multiple research studies.  SURI is a statewide exercise and weight loss program that was founded in 2005 by Dr. Rajiv Kumar.  It is based on his belief that the solution to healthy living lies in the power of teamwork and peer support. The program features an online social wellness platform and team challenges that gather thousands of Rhode Islanders to compete while tracking their steps, exercise and weight loss.  

Couple cooking

Couple cooking

The first article, “A Statewide Intervention Reduces BMI in Adults: Shape Up Rhode Island Results,” was published in 2009 in the journal Obesity[1]The initial research enrolled a total of 4,717 adults which 84% women who had a mean BMI of 29.6 and were enrolled in a 16-week weight loss competition.  A total of 3,311 completed at least 12 weeks.  Subjects reported losing, and an average of 3.2 kg and 30% achieved a clinically significant weight loss of at least 5%.  The finding suggests weight-loss campaigns that feature competitions and teamwork can produce modest weight losses in large numbers of participants.

In 2012, another journal article, “Teammates and Social Influence Affect Weight Loss Outcomes in a Team-Based Weight Loss Competition,” was published in Obesity[2].  This study also looked at the data from the 12-week online program. A group of 3. 330 overweight and obese participants on 987 teams completed the weight loss program.  The researchers use multilevel modeling to examine whether weight loss clustered among teammates and whether the percentage of teammates in the weight loss division and reported teammate influence on weight loss were associated with individual weight outcomes. Subjects reported losing an average of 4.2 kilograms of body weight.   Weight loss was similar among teammates, and they reported a higher level of social influence for weight loss.  These results suggest that teammates affect weight loss outcomes during a team-based intervention. 

The bottom line: Harnessing and maximizing teamwork may influence for weight loss and enhance weight maintenance.  Cooking, eating, and exercising together should help reinforce good habits.  Particularly for younger adults, social networking might be a useful weight loss assistive technique.  

Footnotes
[1]Wing et al., “A Statewide Intervention Reduces BMI in Adults: Shape Up Rhode Island Results.”
[2]Leahey et al., “Teammates and Social Influence Affect Weight Loss Outcomes in a Team-Based Weight Loss Competition.”
Leahey, Tricia M., Rajiv Kumar, Brad M. Weinberg, and Rena R. Wing. “Teammates and Social Influence Affect Weight Loss Outcomes in a Team-Based Weight Loss Competition.” Obesity 20, no. 7 (February 7, 2012): 1413–18. doi: 10.1038/oby.2012.18
Wing, Rena R., Angela M. Pinto, Melissa M. Crane, Rajiv Kumar, Brad M. Weinberg, and Amy A. Gorin. “A Statewide Intervention Reduces BMI in Adults: Shape Up Rhode Island Results.” Obesity 17, no. 5 (May 2009): 991–95. doi: 10.1038/oby.2008.655
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About the Author

ChuckH

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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