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Obesity (Silver Spring). 2012 Jul;20(7):1413-8. doi: 10.1038/oby.2012.18. Epub 2012 Feb 7.

Teammates and social influence affect weight loss outcomes in a team-based weight loss competition.

Author information

1
Department of Psychiatry and Human Behavior, Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University, The Miriam Hospital/Weight Control and Diabetes Research Center, Providence, RI, USA. tleahey@lifespan.org

Abstract

Team-based internet interventions are increasing in popularity as a way of promoting weight loss in large numbers of individuals. Given that social networks influence health behavior change, this study investigated the effects of teammates and social influence on individual weight loss during a team-based weight loss competition. Shape Up Rhode Island (SURI) 2009 was a 12-week online program open to adult residents of Rhode Island. Participants joined with a team and competed with other teams on weight loss and/or physical activity. Overweight/obese (OW/OB) individuals (N = 3,330; 76% female; age = 46.1 ± 10.8; BMI = 31.2 ± 5.3 kg/m(2)), representing 987 teams, completed the weight loss program. Multilevel modeling was used to examine whether weight loss clustered among teammates and whether percentage of teammates in the weight loss division and reported teammate influence on weight loss were associated with individual weight outcomes. OW/OB completers reported losing 4.2 ± 3.4% of initial body weight. Weight loss was similar among teammates (intraclass correlation coefficient (ICC) = 0.10, P < 0.001). Moreover, having a greater percentage of teammates in the weight loss division and reporting higher social influence for weight loss were associated with greater percent weight loss (P's ≤ 0.002). Similarly, achieving a clinically significant (5%) weight loss tended to cluster within teams (ICC = 0.09; P < 0.001) and having more teammates in the weight loss division and higher social influence for weight loss were associated with increased likelihood of achieving a 5% weight loss (odds ratio (OR) = 1.06; OR = 1.20, respectively). These results suggest that teammates affect weight loss outcomes during a team-based intervention. Harnessing and maximizing teammate influence for weight loss may enhance weight outcomes in large-scale team-based programs.

PMID:
22310234
PMCID:
PMC3676749
DOI:
10.1038/oby.2012.18
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
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