Study Seeks Type 2 Diabetics For Weight Watchers Program

CHICAGO — A new research study at Northwestern University seeks people with type 2 diabetes to participate in a modified “Weight Watchers®” weight-loss program. Participants will receive free Weight Watchers memberships or personalized nutritional counseling for one year, with unlimited access to certified diabetes educators. 

The goal of the program is to determine whether standard counseling or Weight Watchers programs will result in better blood glucose improvements among participants. For those with type 2 diabetes, losing five to ten percent of body weight may improve blood sugar levels and lower the risk for heart and kidney problems.

The study is led at Northwestern by Robert Kushner, M.D., professor of general internal medicine and geriatrics at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine and clinical director of the Northwestern Comprehensive Center on Obesity. Kushner is also a physician at Northwestern Memorial Hospital.

“Those suffering from type 2 diabetes in the Chicago area have the opportunity to participate in personalized weight-loss programs free of charge,” says Kushner. “While these individuals will receive professional care that will potentially benefit their overall health, they will also be helping researchers discover the best way to improve outcomes for the million of Americans suffering from this life-threatening chronic disease.” 

Criteria for study participants include:

  • Reported diagnosis of type 2 diabetes
  • Overweight or obese (BMI 27-50)
  • Age 18-70
  • No weight loss during the past three months

Participants should be willing to commit to physical activity (such as walking) for five days per week, to attend weekly Weight Watchers meetings and participate in online programs, and to attend all scheduled appointments required by the study. Type I diabetics, those with heart conditions, and women who are pregnant or trying to become pregnant are not eligible.

Those interested can call 312-503-6227 or visit to find out if they are eligible to participate.

Participants not randomized into the Weight Watchers program upon enrollment will receive a 12-month pass to complete the program after study completion. 

“Weight Loss Study for People With Type 2 Diabetes (T2D)” is funded by Medical University of Southern California and Weight Watchers International. More information can be found on

About Type 2 Diabetes

Type 2 diabetes is the most common form of diabetes. In this condition, either the body does not produce enough insulin or the cells ignore the insulin. It affects nearly 22 million Americans, and incidence is expected to double by the year 2025. Complications include heart disease and stroke, blindness, kidney disease, and neuropathy. Diabetes costs the U.S. more than $174 billion each year, and accounts for $1 in every $10 health care dollars. People with diagnosed diabetes, on average, have medical expenditures that are approximately 2.3 times higher than the expenditures would be in the absence of diabetes.