Public health weight loss guidance should be revised to encourage more ambitious targets, a study has said.
RCM Alliance partner Slimming World was involved in the research with Nottingham University.
Public health guidance has previously suggested that slimmers set themselves a 'realistic' target of losing 5-10% of their starting weight.
However, new research has turned this on its head after it found encouraging people to aim for their ‘dream weight’ resulted in individuals losing almost twice as much weight in a year.
The study published in the Journal of Human Nutrition and Dietetics looked at the impact of target setting in 24,457 Slimming World members with a BMI in the obese category (BMI >30kg/m²), who were all attending weekly group support sessions.
It found that the more ambitious the target, the more weight people lost, regardless of their starting weight.
The 12-month study found that slimmers who set targets of less than 10% of their body weight achieve their goal, losing an average of 11% – equivalent to 1st 11lbs for someone who weighs 16st.
However, those who set the most ambitious targets lost almost twice as much weight overall at an average of 19% in a year - 3st 1lb for someone weighing 16st.
These results allowed for variations across BMI, gender and age. They also fell within NHS Choices’ recommendations for a safe weight loss of 1-2lbs per week.
For more information and to view the full results of the study, click here.