Drop Out is NOT Failure

31 03 2016

Here at the Weight Management Program, we are elated when a participant finishes the program. To us, that means that a participant has received the maximum level of support possible – the entire package of services AND the maximum amount of time using a gym at a discounted cost.

However, unexpected things happen in our lives every day. People become ill, job circumstances change, and loved ones need care. All these things and more drive participants to leave the program. We’ve done some research on program drop-out, and we’ve found that drop-out DOES NOT mean failure in the WMP. Let me tell you why:

Relationships Remain After the Program

About 25% of participants maintain their gym memberships after dropping from the program. This means that a sector of participants remain connected with a fitness resource in their community, where they can continue to access the help of professionals when needed. A good relationship with the staff at a facility is a strong indicator of success – whether a participant is still in the program or not.

Attitude Change

Even though the structure and requirements of the program are no longer a good fit, many participants leave the program with intentions to continue exercising. Further, participants with these intentions report that they experienced success in the program, and therefore believe they can continue being successful. When someone believes they can be successful, the usually are! This is fantastic!

Change Still Happens

Even though a participant may not finish all 12 or 24 months (depending on the attempt), changes still take place for them. Our research shows that 22% of people dropping out reported making changes to exercise and eating habits. In addition, 15% still experienced weight loss!

At the end of the day, what matters is the effort put forth – in or out of the program. Individuals can be incredibly successful even if they need to step away from the WMP.

Myia Welsh, Program Supervisor, PEIA Weight Management Program

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Myia Welsh

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