Lighten Up trial results: don’t rely on the media coverage!

“Commercially provided weight management services are more effective and cheaper than primary care based services led by specially trained staff, which are ineffective.”
Jolly K, et al. as published in British Medical Journal (1)

The results from the Lighten Up trial (1) were released and splashed all over the media last week. My favourite media coverage snippets perfectly illustrate our previous concerns with erroneous and inaccurate conclusions made by the media:

Study: Weight Watchers better than doctor-led plansMDs were not involved in the weight loss intervention.

“The British Medical Journal (BMJ) published research has recommended that instead of wasting money on the consultation fee of the NHS doctors and dieticians [sic], they should rather utilize the amount by registering to commercial weight loss programme.” OUCH! They fail to recognize that dietitians weren’t directly involved in the intervention either!

NHS weight loss schemes “ineffective””. Maybe I am sensitive, but “schemes” has a nasty ring to it. All of the groups achieved statistically significant weight loss at 3 months… not sure what their definition of “ineffective” is.

You might be wondering *where* a dietitian-led option was in all of this (p.s. they are usually cheaper than nurses or pharmacists!). Stay tuned! We will post a critical appraisal of the Lighten Up trial results in “Stop the Presses” next week.


  1. Jolly K, Lewis A, Beach J, Denley J, Peymayne A, Deeks JJ, Daley A, Aveyard P. Comparison of range of commercial or primary care led weight reductions programmes with minimal intervention control for weight loss in obesity: Lighten Up randomized controlled trial. BMJ 2011; 343: epub ahead of print.

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