The Ripple Effect
Couple Aaron West and Jennifer Waldron have a combined weight loss of 6st 12lbs
Weight Watchers Gold member Jennifer has been coming to Weight Watchers for many years. She had been successfully maintaining her weight loss before she became pregnant with her first child. She returned to Weight Watchers when her son Isaac was seven weeks old. He is now nearly 1 and she has lost almost 4 stone. Jennifer’s husband Aaron joined Weight Watchers out of moral support for Jennifer and couldn’t believe how well it worked. He has lost over three stone in less than a year. Working as a security guard, he admits to having had poor eating habits, and is loving the fact that he is now eating more than he ever did, yet is continuing to lose weight and feel healthier than he ever has before. “It was so much easier than I ever expected it to be. It definitely helped having Jennifer and she would say the same. We were eating the same meals. We stuck together. It was never a competition but we really egged each other on – particularly on days where someone wasn’t feeling motivated. We’re keeping to it now and are determined not to ever see it back again”, says Aaron, “I have people stopping me on the street who haven’t seen me in a while and they cannot believe the difference in a relatively short space of time. As parents, it’s wonderful to now be much more educated about healthy food habits”.
Weight Watchers has released the findings of a new study in partnership with the University of Connecticut which identifies weight loss ripple effect within couples.
The study tracked the weight loss progress of 130 couples over six months. The researchers found that when one member of a couple commits to losing weight, there was a high chance the other partner would lose some weight too, even if they were not actively trying to do so themselves.
In the study, approximately one third of the untreated partners lost 3 percent or more of their initial body weight after six months despite not setting out to lose weight. A three percent loss of body weight is considered a measurable health benefit.
The study’s lead investigator, UConn Professor Amy Gorin, calls it a “ripple effect.”
“When one person changes their behaviour, the people around them change,” says Gorin, a behavioural psychologist. “Whether the patient works with their healthcare provider, joins a community-based, lifestyle approach like Weight Watchers, or tries to lose weight on their own, their new healthy behaviours can benefit others in their lives.”
Couples were divided into two groups and assessed at three and six months. In one group, one member of the couple was enrolled with Weight Watchers. In the second group, one member of the couple received a four-page handout with information on healthy eating, exercise, and weight control strategies (e.g. choosing a low-fat, low-calorie diet, portion control).
Joining has a positive impact on your other half – the more you lose, the more they lose.
Untreated partners in both the WW and self-help groups lost weight, suggesting a ripple effect of weight loss.
Those in the WW group lost significantly more weight than those in self-help group at 3 months, but the differences did not persist to 6 months.
The weight loss trajectories were similar within couples.