Diabetes-tailored program produces meaningful effects on glycemic control, body weight

Study results from three clinical trial sites show that a program of WW International, Inc. (“WeightWatchers” or “WW”), tailored for people with diabetes, helped participants lose weight, lower blood glucose levels and improve their overall well-being.

Despite recent advances, gaps remain in diabetes treatment for the more than 37 million people in the U.S. living with diabetes — most of whom are also overweight or obese. These study results demonstrate that the WW Customized Diabetes Program provides beneficial improvements in glycemic control, weight and diabetes management that are both statistically significant and clinically meaningful.”

John W. Apolzan, Ph.D., assistant professor and nutrition scientist, Pennington Biomedical Research Center, and principal investigator in the clinical trial

The study results were announced today at the 82nd Scientific Sessions of the American Diabetes Association (ADA).

It is estimated that 90 percent of people with diabetes are also overweight or obese, and 30-53 percent of new diabetes cases in the US each year are related to obesity. Current ADA treatment recommendations recognize the importance of weight management in patients with type 2 diabetes who are also overweight or obese to improve glycemic control.

The six-month, one-arm clinical trial was conducted at three sites (Pennington Biomedical, University of Florida and Virginia Commonwealth University) and examined the effectiveness of the WeightWatchers virtual program on glycemic control and weight loss in 136 participants with type 2 diabetes who had a mean baseline A1c of 7.9. The results showed that the diabetes-focused WeightWatchers program had clinically meaningful and statistically significant effects, including:

  • Reduction of HbA1c with 0.76. Average decrease in HbA . of the participants1c levels at three and six months exceeded the standards set by the FDA for the approval of pharmacotherapy (treatment with a drug).
  • Average weight loss of 5.7 percent and decrease in waist circumference by more than five centimeters. A modest weight loss of at least five percent of a person’s body weight can lead to health benefits, including improvements in blood pressure, blood cholesterol and blood sugar.
  • Reducing diabetes distress by 9.8 percent. The participants experienced a reduction in emotional burden, regimen-related stress and overall diabetes problems.

“Building on WeightWatchers’ science-backed approach, our tailored program helps people with diabetes build and maintain healthy habits based on their needs and lifestyle,” said Gary Foster, Ph.D., Chief Scientific Officer, WW . “We remain committed to supporting people with diabetes with scalable solutions and are encouraged by the positive clinical research results presented at ADA.”

Pennington Biomedical’s mission is to stop the epidemics of obesity and diabetes, which can lead to a number of serious health problems, including heart and kidney disease. To find solutions that help our residents live healthier lives by better managing chronic conditions such as type 2 diabetes. to keep control of the research center’s highest priorities,” said Pennington Biomedical Executive Director John Kirwan, PhD.

Clinical trial participants followed WeightWatchers’ new diabetes program.

The study was supported by a grant from WW International, Inc. The information presented does not constitute an endorsement or recommendation by Pennington Biomedical.


Pennington Biomedical Research Center

Reference magazine:

Apolzan, JW, et al. (2022) A tailored weight management program for adults with type 2 diabetes: effects on glycemic control. diabetes mellitus doi.org/10.2337/db22-567-P.

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