Data on Prevalence of Long Term Maintenance of Weight Loss

Most information about long-term maintenance of weight loss comes from obesity treatment studies. In such studies, overweight individuals who receive a lifestyle intervention achieve a weight loss of approximately 7-10 kg at 6 months. Typically, the maximum weight loss occurs at 6 months, followed by weight maintenance for the next 6 months and then gradual weight regain. This pattern of weight change is illustrated in the Diabetes Prevention Program (DPP). DPP is a multicenter clinical trial of the effects of lifestyle intervention, metformin, and placebo on the development of diabetes in more than 3000 individuals with impaired glucose tolerance. Figure 1 shows that participants in lifestyle intervention achieved an average weight loss of 7 kg (7% of initial body weight) at 6 months, maintained this weight loss through 12 months, and then gradually regained weight.

Years from Randomization

Figure 1 Average weight loss achieved in the lifestyle intervention of the Diabetes Prevention Program.

Years from Randomization

Figure 1 Average weight loss achieved in the lifestyle intervention of the Diabetes Prevention Program.

Few lifestyle treatment programs provide follow-up beyond 1 or 2 years. One study reported that at 5-year follow-up 13% of participants remained >5 kg below their baseline weight. Likewise, 22% of participants were >5 kg below baseline weight at 5 years in another lifestyle intervention.

These studies may underestimate the prevalence of successful long-term weight loss because they are based on a single episode of weight loss and likely involve a selected sample who find weight loss most problematic. For example, a random digit dialing telephone survey of 500 adults in the United States found that 228 of these adults reported being overweight (body mass index >27) at their heaviest weight. Sixty-nine of the 228 individuals were currently at least 10% below their highest body weight and had maintained at least a weight loss of >10% for at least 1 year (mean weight loss was 19.1 kg, maintained for 7years). When successful weight losers were further restricted to those who reported intentional weight loss of >10% maintained for >1year, 47 (20.6%) of the 228 overweight participants met this criterion. Thus, 20% of overweight individuals appear to meet the criteria specified for "success."

100 Weight Loss Tips

100 Weight Loss Tips

Make a plan If you want to lose weight, you need to make a plan for it. Planning involves setting your goals both short term and long term ones. With proper planning, you would be able to have an effective guide on the steps that you want to take, towards losing pounds of weight. Aside from that, it would also keep you motivated.

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