The healthy weights initiative: Results from the first 2,000 participants

Mark Lemstra*, Yelena Bird, Jeff Fox, John Moraros

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Background: A free, comprehensive, adult obesity reduction program was initiated in the cities of Moose Jaw and Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada. Objective: This study aimed to determine the short-term and long-term adherence outcomes, identify factors that impact long-term adherence, and measure health outcomes. Methods: The Healthy Weights Initiative (HWI) attendance was determined by using an electronic swipe card. An on-site exercise therapist also documented physical activity, duration, and intensity, as well as attendance of dietary and cognitive behavioral therapy education classes. Logistic regression determined which factors were associated with long-term adherence (exercising three times per week at 1 year) and various health outcomes. Results: In this study, 2,167 participants started and 2,000 completed the 24-week program (92.3%). Upon 24-week completion, the majority of the participants in Moose Jaw (59.0%) and Regina (63.1%) purchased 1-year fitness memberships at the YMCA. At 1 year, 79.8% of the participants were exercising three times a week or more at the Moose Jaw YMCA. Logistic regression revealed that participants who did not exercise three times a week at 1 year at the YMCA were more likely to have a spouse/partner who did not support the program (OR=2.01; 95% CI=1.81–2.22) and more likely to have a medical comorbidity (OR=1.22; 95% CI=1.03–1.49). At 24 weeks, average weight loss was modest (12.7 pounds) and regressed slightly at 1 year (10.4 pounds). However, at 24 weeks, many health gains were statistically significant and were maintained for 1 year. For example, the prevalence of depressed mood reduced from 49.0% at baseline to 13.0% at 24 weeks and increased to 19.0% at 1 year (P=0.000). Conclusion: We found that the availability of a community-based weight management program (Healthy Weights Initiative) demonstrated good adherence, modest weight loss, and positive health outcomes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1167-1174
Number of pages8
JournalPatient Preference and Adherence
Publication statusPublished - 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • Community-based intervention
  • Obesity
  • Program adherence
  • Social support


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