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A descriptive study of weight loss maintenance: 6 and 15 year follow-up of initially overweight adults

Abstract

OBJECTIVE: To describe factors associated with long-term maintenance of weight loss.

DESIGN AND SUBJECTS: We identified initially overweight individuals (body mass index>27 kg/m2, n=911) from the nationwide Finnish Twin Cohort and studied those who lost at least 5% of their body weight between 1975 and 1981. Subjects who had maintained weight loss until 1990 (38 men, 17 women) were compared to both re-gainers (28 men, 26 women) and the other overweight subjects in the cohort.

MEASUREMENTS: Self-report data on weight, height, health behaviours and perceived well-being; self-report and register-based data on health status and use of medication.

RESULTS: Only 6% of all overweight individuals lost and maintained at least 5% weight loss. In men weight loss maintenance was associated with a low level of stress and health-promoting behaviours but also with medical problems. Failure to maintain weight loss seemed to be associated with stressful life and past high alcohol intake. In women weight loss maintenance was associated with low initial well-being and health-compromising behaviours that improved after weight loss.

CONCLUSION: Long-term weight loss maintenance is rare. Predictors of weight loss maintenance are different between women and men.

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Acknowledgements

Supported in part by grants from the Academy of Finland (nos 42022 and 37800)

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Correspondence to S Sarlio-Lähteenkorva.

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Sarlio-Lähteenkorva, S., Rissanen, A. & Kaprio, J. A descriptive study of weight loss maintenance: 6 and 15 year follow-up of initially overweight adults. Int J Obes 24, 116–125 (2000). https://doi.org/10.1038/sj.ijo.0801094

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Keywords

  • overweight
  • weight loss maintenance
  • health
  • behaviour
  • well-being

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