What 5% Weight Loss Can Do For You

How big of a problem is obesity for Americans today? It has been suggested to be the second cause of premature death and is one of the major contributors of preventable chronic diseases, and healthcare costs in the USA. Yet, a 5% weight loss is enough to start seeing improvements in overall health.

Obesity is still a growing public health concern for Americans. Among all OECD countries, USA ranks first in adult obesity rates at around 40%[1]. The latest obesity trends data from a nationally representative survey of US adults indicate an increasing prevalence in adults over the past decade, from 33.7% in 2007-2008 to almost 40% in 2015-2016[2]. Projections show that obesity rates will continue to increase up to 50% by 2030, unless interventions are implemented[3].

Americans worry about their weight, but most do not take action

In the recent Cleveland Clinic survey of over 1,000 Americans’ perceptions of heart health and weight, they found that around 75% of respondents were worried about their weight, and 65% were concerned of the heart disease that could result from being overweight. In spite of this, more than half chose not to do anything about it[4]. Results also showed that the overwhelming majority of Americans did not understand the link between excess weight with reduced heart and overall health.

“Most Americans understand abstractly that being overweight or obese is not good for your health, but it seems we are not grasping that the leading causes of death and disability – stroke, cancer, coronary artery disease – are all adversely affected by increased weight”

-Steven Nissen, M.D., chairman of Cardiovascular Medicine at Cleveland Clinic.

About 1/3 of responders believed they needed to lose a significant amount of weight to have better heart health. However, a drastic reduction in weight is not necessary to start seeing improvements in the health consequences caused by obesity.

Health benefits of 5% weight loss

The American Guideline for the Management of Overweight and Obesity in Adults states that a weight loss of ≥5% of initial body weight, based on evidence from several clinical trials, produces clinically meaningful improvements in health targets, such as reductions in blood glucose, hemoglobin A1c, blood pressure, triglycerides, and the risk of developing type 2 diabetes[5],[6]. This modest weight loss goal is also accepted by other governing bodies, such as the European Guidelines for Obesity Management in Adults and World Health Organization[7],[8]. The resulting benefits in obesity-related medical conditions and cardiovascular risk factors are more pronounced with greater weight loss.

 “A patient only needs to lose five percent of their body weight to start seeing important health benefits.”

Dr. Nissen

The Cleveland Clinic survey found that 84% of Americans have tried at least one weight-loss method, and around 1/3 reported that they only stuck with it between 1 week to 1 month. There is no question achieving weight loss is difficult, especially without support or a program you can follow in the long-term. Dr. Nissen stated that “It’s best to work with your physician to develop a steady long-term weight loss plan that will help you keep off the pounds. Quick weight loss programs are not effective.” The American Guideline recommends that clinicians and patients construct weight loss and health goals, and appropriate comprehensive lifestyle treatment strategies to achieve these goals.

Newtopia can help you achieve 5% weight loss

Realistic individualized and sustainable lifestyle changes for long term-weight loss is at the core of the Newtopia’s personalized disease prevention platform. The program is specifically designed for those who are looking to reverse their risk of developing chronic diseases and is tailored to your health goals to help you achieve real results. Newtopia’s proven success in lowering weight loss by an average of 5% was demonstrated in a year-long randomized control trial (RCT) in collaboration with Aetna, the leader in medical and disability insurance[9]. The study, published in the peer-reviewed Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine (JOEM), aimed to determine if individuals in the Newtopia workplace wellness program would demonstrate reduced Metabolic Syndrome risk factors* and employee healthcare costs when compared to a control group not invited to the program. The employees enrolled in the Newtopia’s high-intensity coaching program received personalized nutrition, activity and behavior management plans, and access to a health coach, and lost 10 pounds (5% of baseline bodyweight) on average. Those participating in the program also saw reductions in waist size, triglycerides and an increase in “good” cholesterol (HDL) levels.

Take home message

All in all, obesity is on the rise in the US, yet most Americans are not doing much, if anything, to tackle their weight issues. The majority do not understand the benefits that modest, sustained 5% weight reduction can have on their overall health. While many have tried a weight loss method, these schemes are largely not focused on long-term sustainable systems of doing so. Newtopia has proven to help with a minimum 5% weight reduction through their habit change platform to help with sustainable behavior change. This program and its highly personalized approach is the solution for reducing preventable chronic diseases and halting the growing obesity trend.

* What Is Metabolic Syndrome?

Metabolic Syndrome is a collection of five risk factors, including: out of range waist circumference, elevated triglyceride levels, low HDL cholesterol levels, high blood pressure and elevated fasting blood sugar levels. Currently, up to 35 per cent of the US adult population between the ages of 18-65 (109 million) meet the criteria for Metabolic Syndrome. An adult with Metabolic Syndrome has annual health costs 60% higher than an average healthy employee.

[1] http://www.oecd.org/health/obesity-update.htm

[2] https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jama/fullarticle/2676543

[3] http://www.oecd.org/health/health-systems/Obesity-Update-2017.pdf

[4] https://newsroom.clevelandclinic.org/2019/01/31/americans-concerned-about-their-weight-but-dont-understand-link-to-heart-conditions-and-overall-health/

[5] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26523739

[6] https://www.ahajournals.org/doi/full/10.1161/01.cir.0000437739.71477.ee

[7] https://www.who.int/nutrition/publications/obesity/WHO_TRS_894/en/

[8] https://www.karger.com/Article/FullText/442721

[9] https://journals.lww.com/joem/Fulltext/2015/12000/Reducing_Metabolic_Syndrome_Risk_Using_a.3.aspx

Bring sustainable weight loss and risk reduction to your employees today. Work with our team to inspire change and reduce your healthcare costs.

Get started