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Influence of Slimming World’s lifestyle programme on diet, activity behaviour and health of participants and their families

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Abstract Background: 

Understanding the impact of commercial weight management programmes on behaviour change is an area that requires greater evidence. The present study investigated the impact of a commercial weight management organisation’s diet and activity programmes on the lifestyles of those accessing the services and their families. Methods: 

This survey was based on self-reports from a group of people involved in their own weight control. A questionnaire consisting of multiple choice and open-ended questions regarding diet, activity patterns and health was distributed in a commercial slimming organisation’s magazine and was available on the website for a 4 week period. Two thousand eight hundred and twelve respondents were analysed, including the organisation’s members (53%) and nonmembers (47%). Results: 

Those following the dietary programme reported significant changes towards healthier food choices in line with current guidelines (P < 0.01). Over 80% reported an improvement in their own health and over 26% reported an improvement in their partner’s or family’s health (P < 0.01). Respondents reported increasing physical activity after being made aware of the organisation’s activity programme (P < 0.001). Members were more likely to have become more active than nonmembers (P = 0.011). The longer respondents had been members, the more likely they were to report an increased participation in physical activity (P = 0.02). Half of those reporting increased activity indicated that their partner or whole family had also increased their activity levels. Conclusions: 

The commercial slimming organisation’s programme appeared to be having a beneficial impact on the diet and activity behaviours of those accessing the service. Group members were more likely to make positive behaviour changes and health improvements tended to increase with the duration of membership. The improvements observed with respect to both diet and activity levels also reached the wider family network.

Keywords: commercial slimming organisation; diet; exercise; family; health; weight control

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: 2009-08-01

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