According to a study that was published in Obesity, a lifestyle intervention delivered at work sites with or without meal replacement was associated with a mean weight loss of more than 8% at 6 months.
According to Sai Krupa Das, PhD, senior scientist at the Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging and associate professor at the Gerald J. and Dorothy R. Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University, “work sites are, in fact, a great venue for providing options for weight management.” “A programme that addresses obstacles to long-term adherence, such as hunger control, will promote clinically significant weight loss.”
At 12 workplaces in the Boston area, Das and associates conducted a parallel-group randomised controlled trial that lasted from September 2015 until February 2018. The Healthy Weight for Living lifestyle intervention site or the control site with no lifestyle intervention were randomly assigned, 2:1, to the 12 work sites. The lifestyle intervention involved one-hour meetings held at the workplace in person or via videoconference every week for 24 weeks, then once a month after that. An interventionist facilitated the meetings, which featured an educational component as well as time for queries and support. Meal replacement or lifestyle intervention alone were randomly assigned to participants at the intervention sites, one to one. For the duration of the trial, adults in the meal replacement groups were instructed to consume one calorie-controlled meal replacement product per day after consuming two such products daily for the first six months. Those who worked full-time at one of the participating workplaces and were overweight or obese and over the age of 21 were eligible to enrol. At baseline, 6 months, 12 months, and 18 months for intervention participants, measurements of weight, body composition, blood pressure, cholesterol, triglycerides, and glucose were made for all participants.
six-month weight loss
259 intervention participants and 76 control participants made up the study cohort. Among the intervention participants, 129 were randomly assigned to lifestyle intervention plus meal replacement, while 130 were randomly assigned to lifestyle intervention alone. At six months, 95% of those in the control group were still enrolled in the study, compared to 85% of those in the group receiving lifestyle interventions and 75% of those receiving lifestyle interventions plus meal replacements (P =.002). Net retention at 18 months was higher for those randomly assigned to lifestyle intervention alone vs. lifestyle intervention plus meal replacement (80% vs. 68%; P =.03), after excluding participants who were no longer employed with their workplace or pregnant women who were ineligible to complete the trial.
At 6 months, the lifestyle intervention group had lost an average of 8.8% of their starting body weight, and those who had also received meal replacements had lost an average of 8% of their starting weight (P .001 for both), as opposed to the control group, which had gained an average of 0.03% weight. At any time point, there were no discernible differences in weight loss between the intervention groups. 52% of intervention participants lost at least 5% of their body weight at 12 months, and 35% lost at least 10% of their body weight. At 12 and 18 months, a slight weight gain was seen. In the lifestyle intervention group and the lifestyle intervention plus meal replacement group, the average weight loss from baseline to 18 months was 5.6% and 6%, respectively.
Given that the majority of other programmes encountered difficulties and especially with just a 1-hour mostly video conference-disseminated group programme, Das said, “We were surprised to achieve significant weight loss in a work site setting.” More importantly, we were pleased with the long-term maintenance of a healthy amount of weight loss.
benefits of changing one’s lifestyle for weight loss
In comparison to controls, the triglyceride and glucose levels in both intervention groups improved at 6 months. When compared to the control group, those who received the intervention and meal replacement had a greater decrease in total cholesterol (-0.2 mmol/L vs. +0.04 mmol/L; P =.02). At six months, the lifestyle intervention alone group had significantly lower BP and HDL cholesterol. At 18 months, adults who only received a lifestyle intervention had lower systolic blood pressure (-5 mm Hg vs. -1 mm Hg; P =.05) and glucose levels (-6.3 mg/dL vs. -4.6 mg/dL) than adults in the intervention plus meal replacement group.
Future studies, according to Das, should concentrate on modifications to the lifestyle intervention programme that could enable personalization in an effort to maximise weight loss and metabolic advantages for each person.