Types of Weight-Loss Programs
To lose weight and keep it off, you should be aware of the different types of
programs available and the important parts of a good program. Knowing this
information should help you select or design a weight-loss program that will
work for you. The three types of weight-loss programs include: do-it-yourself
programs, non-clinical programs, and clinical programs.
Any effort to lose weight by yourself or with a group of like-minded others
through support groups, worksite or community-based programs fits in the
“do-it-yourself” category. Individuals using a do-it-yourself program rely on
their own judgment, group support, and products such as diet books for advice
(Note: Not all diet books are reliable sources of weight-loss information).
These programs may or may not be commercially operated, such as through a
privately-owned, weight-loss chain. They often use books and pamphlets that are
prepared by health-care providers. These programs use counselors (who usually
are not health-care providers and may or may not have training) to provide
services to you. Some programs require participants to use the program’s food or
This type of program may or may not be commercially owned. Services are
provided in a health-care setting, such as a hospital, by licensed health
professionals, such as physicians, nurses, dietitians, and/or psychologists.
In some clinical programs, a health professional works alone; in others, a
group of health professionals works together to provide services to patients.
Clinical programs may offer you services such as nutrition education, medical
care, behavior change therapy, and physical activity.