Are individual or group interventions more effective for long-term weight loss in adults with obesity? A systematic review

Sarah Street* (Corresponding Author), Alison Avenell

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)
3 Downloads (Pure)


Guidelines recommend individual and group interventions for weight loss, based on preference. Our 2009 systematic review compared long-term effectiveness of individual or group approaches to the same intervention, but there are new randomized controlled trials (RCTs) of high-quality data. We updated and expanded our previous systematic review. We searched Medline and Embase from 1966 to May 2021, and a clinical trial register from 1966 to 2017. Review Manager (5.4.1) was used to conduct meta-analysis. Ten RCTs were included. The primary outcome, mean weight change at final follow-up, was −1.33 kg (95% confidence interval CI: −2.04, −0.62; 10 trials, 2169 participants), favouring group interventions (p < .001). For the secondary outcomes, attainment of ≥5% body weight loss at final follow-up, the risk ratio (RR) was 1.36 (95% CI 1.05, 1.77; three trials, 1520 participants), favouring group interventions (p = .02); attrition at final follow-up was similar between group and individual arms of trials, RR 0.93 (95% CI 0.82, 1.07) (p = .31). Group interventions can be more effective than individual interventions for long-term weight loss in adults with obesity. However, few studies were included in the clinically relevant, secondary outcome measures. Research on delivering group processes in weight management is needed.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere12539
Number of pages11
JournalClinical Obesity
Issue number5
Early online date28 Jun 2022
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2022

Bibliographical note

The Health Services Research Unit is funded by the Chief Scientist Office of the Scottish Government Health and Social Care Directorates.

Data Availability Statement

Additional supporting information may be found in the online version of the article at the publisher's website.


  • adult
  • group
  • individual
  • obesity
  • systematic review
  • weight management


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