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If you’re really determined to lose weight, it may aid your cause to hook up with some like-minded people. A recent study suggests that a dedicated team effort helps participants shed at least 5% of their initial body weight, according to WebMD.
“People around us affect our health behaviors,” says researcher Tricia Leahey, PhD. “It could be quite beneficial if a bunch of friends that choose to lose weight make healthy food choices together, and hold each other accountable to those choices.”
Researchers followed a 12-week online weight loss competition in 2009, composed of teams with between 5 and 11 members. They found that people who lost who lost a significant amount of body weight tended to be on the same teams, motivating each other. “If someone is doing really well, it could influence the whole group,” Leahey says.
Noteworthy in the study was the “virtual” nature of the teams, with members getting together via the web. “Social support helps people to do better, and there are a variety of ways to accomplish it,” says Louis Aronne, MD, founder and director of the Comprehensive Weight Control Program.