If you're trying to lose weight, it may help to do it with friends, as a recent study on Medical News Today reports that community-based weight management programs may be more effective than self-help ones.

For six months, researchers at Baylor College of Medicine worked with overweight and obese participants who were divided into two groups: 147 of them joined the Weight Watchers (WW) group, while 145 were placed in the self-help group. Those in WW had access to group meetings as well as mobile and web apps that would help them manage their diet and lifestyle, while the self-help group had access to none.

The researchers discovered that those who had support from other individuals and tools to help them lost more weight, shedding an average of 10.1 pounds within the given time frame. On the other hand, the self-help group lost only an average of 1.3 pounds. The WW group was also eight times more likely to achieve 5 percent weight loss, which, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, may lower diabetes and cardiovascular risks.

"This clinical trial demonstrates that when Weight Watchers meetings, mobile applications, and online tools are used in combination, the greatest weight loss is achieved," says lead investigator Craig Johnston.

Although it's always better to sign up for tried-and-tested community-based weight management programs, losing those excess pounds with your friends can also be as effective. What‘s important is that you get the support you need from other people who share your experience, and who can inspire you to try harder when you need it the most.

(Photo by iwona_kellie via Flickr Creative Commons)

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