Want to lose weight? Join a weight management group that is meaningful to you

June 15, 2012, The Peninsula College of Medicine and Dentistry

Researchers from Peninsula College of Medicine and Dentistry (PCMD), University of Exeter, have received funding of over £86,000 from the Leverhulme Trust to carry out research over two years to investigate the effectiveness of weight loss groups to those who are obese.

Led by Dr. Mark Tarrant from PCMD, the research project will investigate the management of based on the idea that psychological and physical health is inextricably linked to an individual's membership of social groups – especially how they identify themselves as group members.

Previous studies have shown how involvement in social groups that are meaningful to the individual can benefit health and coping with chronic illness. This approach is called "Social Cure" and, taking this as a starting point, the PCMD team will test a new model which they term the "Social Identity Model of Obesity Management" (SIMOM).

SIMOM starts from the position that organised weight-management groups are a potential source of social support which empower people with obesity to achieve psychological well-being and, in turn, beneficial changes to their behaviour and physical health.

What makes SIMOM unique is that it predicts the effectiveness of a weight-management group to the individual in relation to its psychological meaningfulness to them – that is, whether or not they identify with it.

The research team will carry out a 12-month longitudinal study and a series of interviews with members of weight-management groups in Devon. The team aims to generate a comprehensive understanding of the impact of group participation on health – it is expected that the results of the study will contribute to the evidence base for the future development of weight-management programmes.

Said Dr. Tarrant: "The need for research such as this that supports those with obesity towards a more healthy lifestyle is critical. The estimated cost to the economy each year of work absences from weight-related illness is £16 billion, not counting the healthcare costs of treating obesity. And obesity is on the rise: in 2009 22 per cent of men and 24 per cent of women were obese, and this is expected to increase to 47 per cent and 36 per cent respectively by 2025."

He added: "Based on our new model we expect to recommend that group-based weight-management programmes for obesity be designed to reinforce a sense of identification in group members in order to trigger the potential for social support – and a social cure."

Explore further: Commercial weight loss programs more effective than NHS-based services

Related Stories

Commercial weight loss programs more effective than NHS-based services

November 4, 2011
Commercial weight loss programmes are more effective and cheaper than primary care based services led by specially trained staff, finds a study published on bmj.com.

New research identifies GP and parental reluctance to address childhood obesity

July 28, 2011
One in five 11-year-old children is currently defined as obese, and the country faces a potentially huge burden of increased obesity-associated morbidity and early mortality. New research by the University of Bristol has ...

Anti-obesity drugs with a modified lifestyle helps weight loss -- new study

February 8, 2012
A study led by the University of Leicester has found that anti-obesity drugs coupled with lifestyle advice are effective in reducing weight and BMI.

Weight loss can be contagious, study suggests

February 14, 2012
Is weight loss "contagious"? According to a new study published online in the journal Obesity, teammates in a team-based weight loss competition significantly influenced each other's weight loss, suggesting that shedding ...

Managing obesity in adults: Tips for primary care physicians

May 14, 2012
Managing adult obesity is challenging for primary care physicians, but a new review published in CMAJ (Canadian Medical Association Journal) aims to provide an evidence-based approach to counselling patients to help them ...

Recommended for you

Evening hours may pose higher risk for overeating, especially when under stress, study finds

January 16, 2018
Experiments with a small group of overweight men and women have added to evidence that "hunger hormone" levels rise and "satiety (or fullness) hormone" levels decrease in the evening. The findings also suggest that stress ...

Bariatric surgery prolongs lifespan in obese

January 16, 2018
Obese, middle-age men and women who had bariatric surgery have half the death rate of those who had traditional medical treatment over a 10-year period, reports a study that answers questions about the long-term risk of the ...

Sugar-sweetened drinks linked to overweight and obesity in children, adults: Analysis of new studies

December 23, 2017
A new review of the latest evidence on sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs)- which includes 30 new studies published between 2013 and 2015 (and none of them industry sponsored) - concludes that SSB consumption is associated with ...

As income rises, women get slimmer—but not men

December 21, 2017
(HealthDay)—A comprehensive survey on the widening American waistline finds that as paychecks get bigger, women's average weight tends to drop.

Policy and early intervention can curb obesity rates

December 18, 2017
More information and emphasis on dietary lifestyle changes that prevent obesity, and its comorbidities, have not reduced the rise in obesity in U.S. adults and adolescents, according to a recent study in the New England Journal ...

Warning labels can help reduce soda consumption and obesity, new study suggests

December 15, 2017
Labels that warn people about the risks of drinking soda and other sugar-sweetened beverages can lower obesity and overweight prevalence, suggests a new Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health study.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.