The 10 checks of a healthy weight-management program

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Check all the boxes below that are relevant to the commercial weight-loss program you are assessing.

1. The program is not a one-size fits-all diet and has individualized nutritional, exercise and behavioural components.
2. Nutritional advice is provided by a healthcare professional.
3. Exercise is encouraged but physical activity is promoted at a gradual, rather that at an injury-inducing rapid pace.
4. Reasonable weight-loss goals are set at a pace of 3 lbs per week at most, and the program does not promote or imply dramatic, rapid weight loss as an outcome.
5. The program does not require the outlay of large sums of money at the start or make clients sign contracts for expensive, long-term programs without the option of at least partial refunds (which you should discuss before enrolling).
6. The program does not promote diets <800 kcal daily, and if diets contain <1200 kcal daily, they are supervised by a healthcare professional.
7. The program does not require the use or purchase of any products, supplements, vitamins or injections.
8. The program does not make outlandish claims such as, “You will only lose fat,” or, “We can target problem areas”.
9. The program has an established maintenance program available.
10. The program provides you with statistics that include the percentage of clients who drop out, the average percentage of weight clients lose, and the average weight loss sustained following completion of their maintenance program.