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Employer-Based Weight-Loss Programs Help, Review Shows

Efforts that include face-to-face contact are the most effective.

Workplace assistance in helping employees' lose weight appears to work, says the University of Cincinnati. The university based its conclusion on a review of 11 studies published since 1994.

"Worksite-based programs do tend to result in weight loss for the people who participate in them," says Michael Benedict, co-author of the study and a researcher in the department of internal medicine.

Most of the programs involved education and counseling about diet and exercise, and lasted from two to 12 months. Programs that involved face-to-face contact more than once a month appeared to be more effective than others, Benedict said.

Participants in higher-intensity programs lost an average of 2.2 pounds to almost 14 pounds.

"Most employed adults in the U.S. spend nearly half of their waking hours at their place of employment," Benedict says. "Worksite-based programs have great potential to positively impact our current obesity epidemic."

Unclear is the effect of weight-loss programs on weight-loss maintenance. Minimal data also did not allow the researchers to draw conclusions about any money-savings that could result from implementing a weight-loss program.

The UC review appears in the July-August issue of American Journal of Health Promotion.

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