|Health Factors:||Diet & Exercise|
|Decision Makers:||Employers & Businesses Nonprofit Leaders|
|Population Reach:||20-49% of WI's population|
|Impact on Disparities:|
Is this program or policy in use in your community? Tell us about it.
Community weight loss challenges are temporary programs that aim to energize participating community members to lose weight. Weight loss challenges can be designed as healthy lifestyle education programs, sports competitions between teams, charity donation drives, or faith-based initiatives. Weight loss challenges are typically multi-component interventions that include education, weight status and food intake tracking, regular check-ins, and group support. At the end of the challenge, there are often prizes awarded to the individuals or teams who lost the most weight.
Community weight loss challenges are a suggested strategy to increase physical activity, improve nutrition, and increase weight loss (AHRQ HCIE-Kumar). Available evidence suggests that community weight loss challenges that offer group support and weekly check-ins, use food log diaries or online tracking and performance feedback, and last at least 3-4 months can result in behavior change and weight loss for communities as a whole (Jensen 2013, Damore 2010, AHRQ HCIE-Kumar). Case studies suggest that education regarding nutrition, portion control, physical activity, weight maintenance, and long-term wellness are important components of these challenges (Jensen 2013, Damore 2010, Carter-Edwards 2009). Additional evidence is needed to confirm effects, especially studies that report weight changes at the individual level.
Communities can choose to implement weight loss challenges on their own or can join statewide efforts. For example, in Rhode Island the Shape Up RI program hosts two 12-week competitive challenges each year (AHRQ HCIE-Kumar). For-profit groups such as ShapeUp have resources for community weight loss challenges (ShapeUp). In many areas across the country, participants can also pay a fee to join a community weight loss challenge program; for example teams pay $20 per person to join Live Healthy America (LHA).
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