While at the start of each new year, people make profound health commitments to themselves, a new study conducted by the University of Oxford has confirmed that January remains the most opportune time to start a diet.
The study found that people who try to lose weight at the beginning of the year manage to lose more. Those who start a diet in January lose 2.54 kg on average, compared to 1.61 kg in the summer months.
Experts believe that the 'fresh start' motivation may be behind the success of New Year's diets. On the other hand, they admit that the summer vacation may also make it difficult to maintain healthy habits.
To delve into this matter further, the researchers monitored 85,514 participants in England, with an average age of 65, who enrolled in the NHS Diabetes Prevention Program between January 2017 and December 2018. These individuals exhibited high blood sugar levels but had not yet developed diabetes.
They attended either face-to-face or online sessions, where they received encouragement to adopt healthier eating habits, increase physical activity, and lose weight.
The results, published in the journal Obesity, demonstrate that, on average, the participants lost 2 kg over a six-month period, equivalent to 2.3% of their total body weight. However, those who initiated their diet in January experienced greater weight loss compared to those who commenced their health regimen at any other time of the year.
Overall, individuals who embarked on their diet journey in January lost between 12% and 30% more weight than those who began during other months, as concluded by the research team. August proved to be the least favorable month to begin a diet, followed by July (1.65 kg), September (1.79 kg), and December (1.83 kg).