From what I can recall, the quote, “somebody call Jenny Craig” was from the movie, Next Friday, featuring a not-quite ensemble cast including Ice Cube, Mike Epps and others. Â To be fair, though the movie was a comedy, the phrase certainly had a pejorative spin.
Speaking of calling Jenny Craig, the results of a recent study involving Jenny Craig weight loss products was recently published in the Journal of the American Medical Association . Â I would be remiss if I didn’t point out that the study was also funded by Jenny Craig.
Lead researcher, Cherly Rock of the Moores Cancer Center in California, conducted a 2-year long weight loss trial involving 442 female participants aged 18-69. Â The study included both a weight loss and maintenance phase. Â All of the participants had a body mass index over 25 at the start of the study.
Two different types of interventions Â were Â compared to a usual care group. Â The intervention groups both received a free supply of Jenny Craig prepackaged food (yum?). Â One group received telephone counselling while the other received in person counseling. Â In both cases, the counseling was aimed at improving dietary habits as well as encouraging 30 minutes of exercise, five days per week. Â The were scheduled on a weekly basis.
In contrast, the control group received just two 1-hour counseling sessions from a dietitian will instructions for eating a diet with a 500-1000 kcal deficit per day. Â They also received an information package consisting of printout documents.
To start off with, this study employed rather poor methodology. Â There was no blinding at all in the study design either for participants or observers. Â What’s more is that the study did not detail what exercise instructions the control group was given, nor was there a comparison of either activity level during the study or any measure of calories consumed between groups.
The intervention groups also received weekly counseling sessions. Â With three interventions (cardboard box food, exercise, and counseling) compared to 2 1-hour sessions with a dietitian, there’s no way of really know which component was effective in the intervention groups. Â Another potential source of bias is that the study was funded by Jenny Craig.
In short, yes a combination of sustained diet and exercise will result in weight loss. Â Do you need to eat food from a cardboard box for a year or more to lose weight? Â No. Â Since this ‘research’ if you want to call it that was published in a reputable medical journal, you can expect to hear phrases such as “clinically proven weight loss” the next time you watch a Jenny Craig commercial on TV. Â Participant food costs for the study would equate to $4080 per year according to the study.