London: Joining a slimming group could be more effective in shedding the extra pounds, according to psychologists.
Researchers found that the support received at such groups led to dieters losing three times as much as those attending groups supervised by medical professionals, the Daily Mail reported.
The study, funded by the US National Institutes of Health, also found that those attending slimming classes, such as Weight Watchers, lose double the amount of weight than those who followed a strict weight-loss programme set up by a doctor.
The findings suggest that inspiration from someone who has personally had weight-loss success is often more successful than medical programmes set up by GPs.
Group classes which encourage members to share experiences and reach a “goal weight” proved particularly successful, it was said.
In the trial, run by City University of New York, 141 overweight and obese men and women were randomly assigned to 48 weeks of weight loss treatment by a health professional, or 48 weeks of Weight Watchers, or a combined treatment consisting of 12 weeks of the former then 36 weeks of the latter.
The investigators assumed that the combined treatment would produce better weight losses than Weight Watchers alone, but contrary to expectations, Weight Watchers participants had lost more weight at the end of treatment.
In fact, more than one third of the Weight Watchers participants lost 10 percent or more of their starting weight, compared to 15 percent of those in the combined group and 11 percent in the professionally-led group.
The study is published in the journal Obesity.