Weight-Wise Leader’s Guides

University of North Carolina Center for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention

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A Prevention Research Center Tool Showing Evidence of Effectiveness


Weight-Wise is a 16-week weight loss program for low-income, midlife women in the South. This pilot program focused on changing lifestyle behaviors to promote weight loss among women with a BMI of 25–45. Participants learn to set achievable goals, increase confidence, solve problems, and build group social support. A session leader guides the group meetings by using a series of questions. Rather than give information or advice, these questions help participants decide on and plan for lifestyle changes they wish to make. Weight-Wise encourages the following:

  • Eating more fruits and vegetables.
  • Eating less saturated fat, medium calorie restrictions (for 1–2 pounds per week of weight loss).
  • 150 minutes per week of physical activity.

The curriculum includes an introduction to Weight-Wise, leader guides for each of the 16 weekly sessions, participant handouts, supply checklists, and resource materials.


Five months after this pilot program, an analysis found Weight-Wise was effective for short-term weight loss. The study showed that 64% of the Weight-Wise participants lost at least 3% of their initial body weight, and their blood pressure decreased. More than half of those receiving the program lost 8 or more pounds.1 The findings suggest that Weight-Wise may be considered a cost-effective program with a cost per participant of $242.2


Access the tool at UNC Center for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention.

Download the printable Weight-Wise Leader’s Guides [PDF 652 KB].

  1. Samuel-Hodge CD, Johnston LF, Gizlice Z, et al. Randomized trial of a behavioral weight loss intervention for low-income women: the Weight-Wise program. Obesity. 2009;17:1891–1899.
  2. Gustafson A, Khavjou O, Stearns SC, et al. Cost-effectiveness of a behavioral weight loss intervention for low-income women: the Weight-Wise program. Prev Med. 2009;49:390–395.