BOSTON — Working out at the gym is one of the most successful methods of weight loss, according to a survey by American Sports Data (ASD) and International Health and Racquet Sportsclub Association (IHRSA). Sixty-five percent of those surveyed for the Obesity Weight Control Report took measures to reduce their weight last year using various methods from dieting to working out at home or at a gym. Of that 65 percent, only 20 percent felt that their weight loss was “very” or “extremely” successful. However, of the 19 percent that went to the gym to lose weight, 25 percent said they were “very” or “extremely” successful in their weight-loss. Only dieting rated a higher percentage of “very” or “extremely” successful response rates from survey participants. Twenty-six percent of people who dieted to lose weight said that they were “very” or “extremely” successful.

More than 15,000 Americans over the age of six took the survey in January 2004, and responded with their weight loss attempts and methods.

Most (80 percent) said they tlose weight by simply changing their eating habits. Almost half (46 percent) said they worked out at home while 38 percent chose to exercise outdoors. Twenty percent put themselves on a formal diet, and 19 percent decided to use health club exercise.

In addition to the 24.2 million surveyed who used gyms to lose weight, 43.2 million people used a gym in the last year — often for other reasons, such as strength training and physical therapy.

The survey found that 25 percent of those who used their gym to lose weight described their weight loss as “very” or “extremely” successful. Only 19 percent who didn't attend a gym reported the same results. It was found that if a gym member attended their gym at least 100 times a year, their weight loss success was 30 percent.

ASD president Harvey Lauer says that this isn't unusual.

“Not only is frequent health club exercise the most effective weight loss method,” said Lauer, “but it confers physiological benefits unattainable through passive dieting, such as cardio conditioning and stamina, increased strength, muscle tone, bone density, and flexibility — just to name a few.”

Weight Loss Strategies Total# % of Ppl Attempting Weight Loss (127,425,000) % Pop. Over 6yr (260,382,000)
Careful about what they eat 101,334 79.5 38.9
Home exercise 59,106 46.4 22.7
Outdoors exercise 48,551 38.1 18.6
Formal Diet 22,776 20.2 9.9
Health Club 24,155 19 9.3
Diet Pills (OTC) 13,492 10.6 5.2
Prescription Diet Drugs 3,506 2.8 1.3
Laxatives 1,860 1.5 0.7
Health Club Members Who Ranked Themselves “Very/Extremely Successful” by Frequency of Gym Attendance
Total: 25 percent say they were “very/extremely successful”
Less than 50 days at the gym: 18 percent
50-99 days: 22 percent
100+ days: 30 percent