The National Weight Control Registry
Are you a candidate for The National Weight Control Registry?
The National Weight Control Registry (NWCR) is a research study funded by the National Institutes of Health. It was developed to identify and investigate the common characteristics of people who successfully lose weight and keep it off.
The project was started in 1994 by Rena Wing PhD, Professor of Psychiatry and Human Behavior at Brown Medical School, and James O. Hill Ph.D., Professor of Pediatrics and Medicine at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center. Today, the NWCR has more than 5,000 participants.
The Biggest Losers
Membership is comprised of men and women over age 18 who have dropped at least 30 pounds and have kept it off for one year or more. Research shows that the average member has lost 66 pounds and has maintained the loss for 5.5 years. In the registry, 80% of members are women and 20% are men. The "average" woman is 45 years of age and currently weighs 145 lbs; the "average" man is 49 years of age and currently weighs 190 lbs. But the averages hide the fun of diversity: Weight losses range from 30 to 300 pounds and duration of weight loss is up to 66 years!
No One Way
The research frees dieters from looking for the one magic bullet to end all diets.
According to their website, NWCR members accomplished their weight loss by many different means: 45% of registry participants lost the weight on their own, while 55% lost weight with the help of a program. Almost everyone modified his or her food intake and physical activity: 98% changed the way they ate, mostly to eat fewer calories and less fat, and 94% increased their physical activity, with the walking as the exercise most frequently chosen.
According to published research on the group, the successful losers exhibit many common behaviors.
• 78% eat breakfast every day
• 75% weigh them self at least once a week
• 62% watch less than 10 hours of TV per week
• 90% exercise for about 1 hour per day
In addition, one study found that participants developed new ways to control stress and enhance their moods. A large percent incorporated a meditative element, such as yoga, into daily life. Nearly 77 percent of participants say that an event triggered their successful weight loss. Many participants actually separated from their old environment and changed in deep ways.
Many members say that it is easier to maintain a steady goal weight than it was to lose it. Nearly everyone says that weight loss has led to more energy and confidence, and better mobility and overall health.
Help Others to Understand
To date, 30 peer-reviewed research studies have been published using the data from the National Weight Control Registry. For instance, a new study (enrollment is complete) looks at the eating and exercise behaviors of NWCR participants and normal weight people to find out how they manage to maintain a normal weight in our obesity-promoting world.
The National Weight Control Registry continues to look for adults age 18 and over who have lost at least 30 pounds and have maintained that loss or more for at least one year. Enrollees are periodically asked to complete questionnaires about their success at losing weight, weight maintenance strategies and other health-related behaviors. Membership in the registry is free. To join the registry, complete this form.
Read much more about the habits of NWCR dieters from the Guide to Exercise at About.com.
What do you have to say about your weight loss success?