Home Biomedical research Diabetes-Friendly Program Produces Significant Effects on Glycemic Control and Body Weight

Diabetes-Friendly Program Produces Significant Effects on Glycemic Control and Body Weight


Study results from three clinical trial sites show that a WW International, Inc. (“WeightWatchers” or “WW”) program tailored for people with diabetes helped participants lose weight, reduce blood sugar and improve their general well-being.

Despite recent advances, there are still gaps in diabetes management for the more than 37 million people with diabetes in the United States, most of whom are also overweight or obese. The results of these trials show that the WW diabetes-friendly program produces favorable improvements in glycemic control, weight, and diabetes-related distress that are both statistically significant and clinically meaningful. »

John W. Apolzan, Ph.D., assistant professor and nutrition scientist, Pennington Biomedical Research Center, and clinical trial principal investigator

The study results were announced today at the 82nd Scientific Session of the American Diabetes Association (ADA).

An estimated 90% of people with diabetes are also overweight or obese, and 30-53% of new cases of diabetes in the United States are obesity-related. Current ADA treatment guidelines recognize the importance of weight management in patients with type 2 diabetes who are also overweight or obese to improve glycemic control.

The six-month, single-arm clinical trial was conducted at three sites (Pennington Biomedical, University of Florida, and Virginia Commonwealth University) and examined the effectiveness of the virtual WeightWatchers program on glycemic control and weight loss in 136 participants with type 2 diabetes who had an average baseline A1c of 7.9. The results demonstrated that the WeightWatchers diabetes-friendly program had clinically significant and statistically significant effects, including:

  • HbA reduction1 C of 0.76. Mean HbA decreases of participants1 C levels at three and six months exceeded the standards set by the FDA for drug therapy (treatment with a drug) approval.
  • Average weight loss of 5.7% and decrease in waist circumference of more than two inches. Modest weight loss of at least five percent of a person’s body weight can contribute to beneficial health effects, including improvements in blood pressure, blood cholesterol, and blood sugar levels.
  • Decreased diabetes-related distress by 9.8%. Participants experienced a reduction in emotional burden, diet-related stress, and overall diabetes-related distress.

“Built on the science-based approach of WeightWatchers, our tailored program helps people with diabetes develop and maintain healthy habits based on their needs and lifestyle,” said Gary Foster, Ph.D. , Scientific Director, WW. “We remain committed to supporting people living with diabetes with scalable solutions and are encouraged by the positive clinical trial results presented at the ADA.”

“Penington Biomedical’s mission includes stemming the epidemics of obesity and diabetes, which can lead to a number of serious health issues, including heart and kidney disease. Finding solutions that help our residents live healthier lives by better managing chronic diseases like type 2 diabetes is one of the research center’s highest priorities,” said Pennington Biomedical Executive Director John Kirwan, PhD.

Participants in the clinical trial followed WeightWatchers’ new diabetes-friendly program.

The study was supported by a grant from WW International, Inc. The information presented does not constitute an endorsement or recommendation by Pennington Biomedical.


Journal reference:

Apolzan, J.W. et al. (2022) A suitable weight management program for adults with type 2 diabetes: effects on glycemic control. Diabetes. doi.org/10.2337/db22-567-P.