Weight Watchers International has asked the Australian government to subsidize its program so that more overweight and obese persons can benefit from its evidence based community weight loss program.
They are asking for tax dollars to cover most of the 12 week cost
($202) - the attendee would pay 30 dollars out of pocket. I certainly support efforts to make this program accessible to more people, but I have an issue. As is often the case, after we find evidence of an effect (efficacy), an intervention is given to the public under another condition or in a different dose. The real intervention is not replicated, the results are not replicated, and the program itself is found to be ineffective.
That could happen here because the research study which found that Weight Watchers participants lost twice as much weight as similar persons who received assistance from their physician lasted 12 MONTHS not 12 weeks.
In addition, I agree with the Obesity Policy Coalition spokesperson, Craig Sinclair, who said that an environmental approach was needed. The government should consider nutrition labeling laws, limits on junk food advertising and cost supports for healthy foods or increased taxes on junk foods. YES!