"Social Dieting" May Be the Secret Weapon in War on Fat

"Social Dieting" May Be the Secret Weapon in War on Fat 
New Data Suggests Social Media Is a Promising Way to Successfully
Kickstart Weight Loss 
NEW YORK, NY -- (Marketwire) -- 12/21/12 --  Can social media make
you thin? A start-up company in New York is betting that it can. In
January of 2012, DietBet, Inc. rolled out a game where participants
lose weight together as part of an online competition. After hosting
thousands of players, the results paint a picture that people who go
about their weight loss collaboratively are far more successful in
their quest to get in shape.  
Here are some of the company's findings for players in DietBet games: 

--  Ninety percent lose weight during the four-week social game, averaging
    5.4 pounds
--  Those who play the game while sharing accomplishments on Facebook are
    27% more successful than those who don't
--  Players who invite friends to join them are 53% more successful
--  Players who engage with other players (by posting comments and photos
    in the game) are 381% more successful
--  Those with fans who cheer them on are 33% more successful
--  Players who organize games with 10 or more participants are 52% more

There is mounting evidence to suggest that being overweight is a social
phenomenon, like a contagious disease, rather than a strictly
individual matter. According to Dr. Nicholas Christakis, a professor
at Harvard Medical School, your weight is affected by the people
around you. "Obesity is contagious," he wrote in his book, Connected.
But while your friends make you fat, they can also make you skinny.
The social networking forces that drive weight gain can be thrown
into reverse. 
Brian Stelter, a reporter for The New York Times, famously lost 75
pounds in six months with his so-called Twitter Diet, where he
tweeted about everything he ate. The social support became highly
motivational, not just for him, but also for his followers, many of
whom lost weight with him.  
Weight Watchers pioneered what could be called "social dieting" long
before Twitter. Jean Nidetch, its founder, started organizing group
meetings in 1963 to give people struggling with their weight a chance
to offer support and also hold each other accountable. This model has
thrived. Today, the company hosts 20,000 meetings weekly. 
"At DietBet, we're taking that powerful combination of social
accountability and support -- and repackaging it in an engaging game
that you can play on your computer or smartphone," said Jamie Rosen,
DietBet's CEO. "The best part: it's working. Ninety percent lose
weight, on average about a pound and a half a week. Plus, it's
actually fun." 
Unlike other diet programs, which charge subscription fees for their
services, DietBet players end up paying each other for the
accountability. Players pool their money at the start of each game,
which the company holds in escrow. At the end, the money is
distributed evenly to whoever reaches the goal (of losing four
percent in four weeks). The company supplies referees to validate
weight loss. 
"Taking your friends' money was certainly enticing," said Samwoo E,
who has played in multiple DietBets in his office. "But what ended up
being more motivational was the friendly competition among the people
in my office. Nobody wanted to be the guy who didn't hit the target." 
"Having ongoing support and accountability is hugely beneficial to
losing weight," said Dr. Tricia M. Leahey, an assistant professor of
psychiatry and human behavior at the Warren Alpert Medical School of
Brown University. She is investigating the efficacy of "peer
coaching" in treating obesity in a new study. 
Could social media end up powering weight loss in the future? Mark
Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook, sees social media transforming every
industry. "We believe social apps will be the best products in every
business category. In some categories, it may be an abrupt,
disruptive, or revolutionary change, and in others, the change may be
more subtle or roll out more slowly over time. [We're] seeing this
with media and games, and in the future we expect to see this in
commerce and even finance." Perhaps to that he should add weight
About DietBet
 DietBet (http://www.dietbet.com) is a social dieting
company that is pioneering a whole new way to lose weight. It brings
people together to lose weight as a community instead of the
traditional approach of dieting alone. It's working. 90 percent of
DietBetters lose weight, with an average of nearly six pounds in four
weeks. DietBet was founded by Jamie Rosen and was launched in January
2012. DietBet players come from across the globe -- with more than 45
countries represented thus far. Find DietBet on Facebook
(https://www.facebook.com/Dietbet) and Twitter
(https://twitter.com/dietbet). A mobile app is also available. 
Media Contacts:
Ariel Abramowitz
Rose Communications for DietBet
(917) 733-4095 
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