Organization says its methods more effective than doctor’s supervision
San Francisco, CA -- (SBWIRE) -- 12/07/2012 -- An international weight-loss group is seeking money from the Australian government.
Weight Watchers says it can help people lose pounds more efficiently than doctors can, and it has proposed a three–year program for overweight Australians that would cost $115 million.
The group says its method of using education, exercise and support of a peer group is successful and supported by growing evidence.
Officials should help overweight citizens, says Karen Miller-Kovach, chief scientific officer for Weight Watchers International.
“It’s time for governments to move beyond the problem of obesity to taking action to solve it,” said Miller-Kovach, according to The Sydney Morning Herald. “There is a growing pool of evidence that there are solutions that are available today that are affordable, that they are effective and they are scalable.”
Weight Watchers is often more effective than doctors at helping people shed pounds, she said. Her group helps its members with communication as well as exercise and diet information. It also seeks to make people accountable.
“Just because you know what you’re supposed to do doesn’t mean you do it,” Miller-Kovach said. “There is a real need for behavior change.”
She noted that a 2011 study found that obese adults who were members of Weight Watchers in Australia, Britain and Germany lost over two times as many pounds as a group that was supervised by a doctor. The study, which was funded by Weight Watchers, was reported in The Lancet.
Frequent communication between doctor and patient is costly, and Weight Watchers support is more efficient, Miller-Kovach said.
“Health care time is so expensive,” she said. “Just checking in with your doctor once a month is not enough, and it doesn’t need to be the doctor.”
Weight Watchers will lay out its proposal for the Australian government at a December summit on obesity in Canberra. Its program would cost $202 a person, of which the patient would pay $30 and the government the rest.
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