Successful long-term weight loss maintenance in a rural population
Vanessa A Milsom1,2, Kathryn M Ross Middleton2, Michael G Perri2
1Department of Psychiatry, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, CT, 2Department of Clinical and Health Psychology, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL, USA
Background: Few investigations of successful long-term weight loss beyond two years have been conducted, and none has examined weight changes in medically underserved rural populations of older adults. The purpose of this study was to assess long-term weight loss maintenance 3.5 years after the completion of an initial six-month lifestyle intervention for obesity among women aged 50–75 years residing in rural communities.
Methods: One hundred and ten obese women with a mean (± standard deviation) age of 60.08 ± 6.17 years and mean body mass index of 36.76 ± 5.10 kg/m2 completed an in-person assessment during which their weight and adherence to behavioral weight management strategies were evaluated.
Results: Participants showed a mean weight reduction of 10.17% ± 5.0% during the initial six-month intervention and regained 6.95% ± 9.44% from the completion of treatment to follow-up assessment 3.5 years later. A substantial proportion of participants (41.80%) were able to maintain weight reductions of 5% or greater from baseline to follow-up. "Successful" participants (those who maintained losses of 5% or greater at follow-up) reported weighing themselves, self-monitoring their intake and calories, planning meals in advance, and choosing lower calorie foods with greater frequency than "unsuccessful" participants (those who lost less than 5%).
Conclusion: Collectively, these findings indicate that a large proportion of participants were able to maintain clinically significant weight losses for multiple years after treatment, and that self-monitoring was a key component of successful long-term weight management.
Keywords: obesity, weight loss, weight maintenance, lifestyle intervention, rural, health disparities
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