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The Weight Loss Ripple Effect


When you set out to lose weight, did you know that you might not only be helping yourself, but also others around you…?

According to a new weight loss study, it was discovered that when one person in a couple started to lose weight, it was more likely that the other person would too – even if they were not actively trying.

The study was carried out on 130 couples and researchers found that33% of the partners not actively trying to lose weight lost 3% or more of their initial body weight after six months.

The scientists leading the investigation have named it a “ripple effect.”

They observed that when one person in a relationship changed their lifestyle, actions or behaviours, it can positively affect the people around them.

The rate of weight loss was also measured in the study, and it was found that the speed at which partners lost weight was connected. i.e. When one partner struggled with their weight loss, the other would as well, and if one partner lost weight steadily, the other one would too.

Our actions and behaviours relating to food and physical activity can have a big effect on those around us. This is due to the way we interact and bond with our partners. Although this can sometimes lead to getting into bad habits, it can also work the other way around where partners are becoming more aware of what they eat and how much exercise they should be doing.

Although these results might not seem particularly ground breaking, previous studies have been unreliable. This was due to participants who had gone through weightloss surgery, and reporting their progress themselves, therefore making it more likely that there were a few mistakes.

This new study however made sure that couples were trying different diets, and had a less structured approach so that it could emulate real life scenarios much better. The scientists conducing the study were also the ones who monitored and noted down weightloss progress.

How did the Do the Study?

  1. They used couples (participants who were living together).

  2. The couples were assessed at three and six months.

  3. The couples were split into two groups.

  4. Group One:One partner was signed up to a six-month weight loss program (e.g.Weight Watchers) that offered face-to-face support and online assistance to help with weight loss.

  5. Group Two:One partner got a small booklet with information on healthy eating, physical activity, and weight control approaches (e.g. checking portion sizes, or choosing a low-fat, low-calorie diet etc). These participants were given no further support.

The Results

The study showed that the untreated partners of both Group One and Two showed signs of weight loss at three and six months.

These results could have a major effect on everyone who is looking to live a healthier lifestyle. It is possible that the ripple effect might be taken into account when weight loss companies are putting together new programs for their customers.

Maybe in the future, we might even see a study that shows the effect of the ripple effect on family members too!

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