For many years, Public Health in the UK has used weight management interventions and therefore weight loss as the key mechanism for reducing cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk. While traditional interventions have focussed on nutritional support and feminised commercial weight loss groups, many commissioners now look to more innovative sport-based alternatives to engage harder to reach groups in improving CVD risk. Despite this, little direct comparison has been made between the two types of programme as to their effectiveness.
PURPOSE: To compare the effectiveness of Motivate, a 12-week weight management programme, delivered by a professional soccer club (MOT), with a commercial weight loss group (COM) in reducing the body weight of community dwelling men and women 35 years and older.
METHODS: One hundred and seventy three men and 98 age-matched women (mean age= 52.28 ± 9.74 and 51.19 ± 9.04) attending the MOT and COM programmes during March 2012- February 2013 were included. Height (m) and weight (kg) were measured at weeks 1 and 12 as part of both interventions. Changes in body weight were compared over the 12 weeks and between the two interventions using a 2-way RM ANOVA, with significance set to p<0.05.
RESULTS: Body Weight significantly improved over time in both MOT (4.76kg, p<0.05) and COM programmes (4.55 kg, p<0.05). Men were significantly heavier than women (p<0.00) in both programmes, but there was no significantly different change in weight loss between genders. There was a significant difference in weight loss between programmes (p<0.05), but not when controlling for starting weight (p=0.903). Attendance was similar for both programmes and there was a significant relationship between the number of sessions attended and weight loss in men (r=0.513, p<0.00) and women (r=0.559, p<0.00).
CONCLUSIONS: Despite larger numbers of men and women achieving 5% weight loss in the commercial weight loss group, innovative community weight management interventions aimed at reducing CVD risk via weight loss programmes using high intensity exercise as well as nutrition education are equally as successful at reducing body weight in men and women, when controlling for starting body weight. When comparing solely weight loss, the wider cardiovascular health benefits of such interventions may be masked.