How a diet designed by Australia's national science agency measures up after ten years

How CSIRO's Total Wellbeing Diet measures up after ten years
Credit: CSIRO

Australia’s national science agency, CSIRO, is celebrating a decade of reducing the population’s waistline through its scientifically backed program, the CSIRO Total Wellbeing Diet online.

New analysis from CSIRO, which tracked the weight loss of members over the 10 years since the launch of the online program, found that 97% of members who completed the program lost weight in just 12 weeks. In total, members of the CSIRO Total Wellbeing Diet online have lost a combined 558,000 kilograms—the equivalent weight of about 46 double decker buses.

More than 1.2 million Australians have been impacted by the CSIRO Total Wellbeing Diet throughout its evolution from the original book to the sophisticated digital platform it is today.

Dr. Gilly Hendrie, CSIRO Research Scientist, said this milestone demonstrates the critical role Australian science has played in addressing the current trend in weight gain.

“The need for evidence-based, sustainable weight loss solutions has never been more important,” Dr. Hendrie said.

“On average Australian adults seem to gain about 5 kilograms over a 20-year period, while two thirds of the population are considered overweight or obese.

“With the right support, 12 weeks is all it takes to get the ball rolling and lose a significant amount of weight, improving wellbeing and reducing the risk of developing chronic diseases related to being overweight.”

Since its digital launch 10 years ago, the CSIRO Total Wellbeing Diet has continuously evolved to meet the changing needs and preferences of Australians.

This has seen the release of over 10 new tools and features, including its AI weight loss coach, Hope.

According to the analysis:

  • 21% of members were moved out of the obese category.
  • The average weight loss has increased from 5.2kg to 6.3kg.
  • The proportion of those achieving clinically significant weight loss (5% of starting body weight) has increased by 22%.
  • About 1 in 7 members lose 10% or more of their body weight.

Ten years of tracking members’ diet and exercise habits also revealed some interesting insights into Australians’ preferences.

Bananas are the most eaten food by Australians looking to lose weight, with more than 900,000 consumed by members tracking their food intake with the program.

Walking outdoors is the most common exercise recorded, with members pounding the pavement for over 22 million minutes over the past 10 years.

Overnight oats, stir fries and healthy chocolate brownies marked the favorite recipes from the program, suggesting members’ preference for ease and convenience as they balance busy lifestyles with achieving their health goals.

Professor Brett Sutton, Director of Health and Biosecurity at CSIRO, says the longevity and impact of the program reinforces CSIRO’s commitment to solving real-life health challenges through innovative science and technology.

“The impact of the current high rates of obesity in Australia are more weight-related chronic diseases, greater vulnerability to infectious diseases, and significant costs to health care, economic development, and community wellbeing,” Professor Sutton said.

“The Total Wellbeing Diet is one of CSIRO’s major success stories and demonstrates our commitment to working to reverse the high rates of obesity within the next ten years, as called for in the National Obesity Strategy.”

The CSIRO Total Wellbeing Diet is Australia’s only weight loss program to provide extra motivation by offering a financial reward for members who complete the 12-week program. Since its inception, the CSIRO Total Wellbeing Diet has refunded more than $2.7 million back to Australians.

More information:

How a diet designed by Australia’s national science agency measures up after ten years (2024, January 3)
retrieved 13 January 2024

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