Researchers from The Miriam Hospital have found that DietBet, a web-based commercial weight loss program that pairs financial incentives with social influence, delivers significant weight losses. The study and its findings have been published in the current issue of the open access publication JMIR Serious Games. Tricia Leahey, Ph.D., lead researcher at The Miriam Hospital Weight Control and Diabetes Research Center, sought to examine weight losses associated with the social gaming website and contributing factors to gauge the success of such web-based programs. On Dietbet.com, players join a game to lose weight while betting money on themselves. Players all have four weeks to lose four percent of their starting weight. At the end of week four, all players who have lost at least four percent of their initial body weight are deemed “winners” and split the pool of money collected at the start of the game. To verify weight losses, players submit photo-based evidence of their weigh-ins to DietBet’s referees at the start and end of each game. “Online social weight loss programs are accessible to large numbers of overweight and obese individuals who want to lose weight,” Leahey says, “but there has been little research to date on whether such programs are effective, or just how much weight loss they generate.”
Bariatric surgery results in substantial weight loss and can turn back some diseases related to obesity, a new study finds. There is some risk of complications, but death rates appear to be lower than previously thought, researchers reported after reviewing about a decade’s worth of recent data. They were interested in updating current knowledge about the effectiveness and safety of various types of weight loss surgery, including gastric bypass, adjustable gastric banding (lap banding), vertical banded gastroplasty and sleeve gastrectomy. These surgical procedures are used for people who are severely obese, or moderately obese with serious weight-related health problems. The last time there was a major update of bariatric surgical research was in 2003.
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