· 2 min read
Workplace weight-loss program illustrates promise, difficulty of overcoming obesity
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The attention and time that health care workers invest in the well-being of patients can come at the expense of their own. Research suggests that U.S. health care workers become obese at rates even higher than the 38% of American adults overall.
Nebraska’s Weiwen Chai, Jennifer McAtee and colleague Martha Nepper evaluated the effectiveness of a 16-week workplace weight-loss program among health care employees. The program included both group-based activities and individual appointments focused on increasing physical activity, improving nutrition and adopting other health-conscious behaviors.
The 41 study participants lost an average of 13 pounds, or 5.6% of their weight. Blood pressure and blood-glucose levels decreased — supporting prior research that even mild weight loss can lower risks of heart disease and Type 2 diabetes — with sleep quality also improving.
Follow-ups with 27 of the participants found that they regained an average of 8 pounds in the six months following the program’s conclusion.
A true experiment, with half of study participants randomly assigned to a control condition, would help clarify how much of the weight loss stemmed directly from the program. The post-program weight gain also highlights the need to address the sustainability of weight-loss efforts, the researchers said.