Quick weight loss ensures lasting results

Posted by on May 7th, 2010 and filed under Health/Medicine, International. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

Washington, May 7 (IANS) If you thought the best way to lose and maintain weight was the slow and steady approach, then think again.

A new study by Lisa Nackers and colleagues from the University of Florida suggests that the key to long-term weight loss and maintenance is to lose weight quickly, not gradually, in the initial stages of obesity treatment.

Successful weight loss in obese individuals is defined as a reduction of 10 percent or more of initial body weight maintained for at least a year.

Nackers and her team’s study examines the association between the rate of initial weight loss and long-term maintenance of lost weight by looking specifically at whether losing weight at a slow initial rate results in larger long-term weight reduction and less weight regain than losing weight at a fast initial rate.

The authors analysed data for 262 middle-aged obese women who took part in the Treatment of Obesity in Underserved Rural Settings (TOURS) trial.

These women followed a six-month lifestyle programme encouraging them to reduce their calorie intake and increase their moderate intensity physical activity to achieve an average weight loss of 0.45 kg per week.

They were then supported for a further year with an extended care programme involving contact twice a month in the form of group sessions, telephone contact or newsletters.

The team split the women into three groups according to how much weight they lost in the first month of the intervention.

Women in the ‘fast’ group lost over 0.68 kg per week; those in the ‘moderate’ group lost between 0.23 and 0.68 kg per week; women in the ‘slow’ group lost less than 0.23 kg per week in that first month.

The authors then looked at the womens’ weight loss at six and 18 months, as well as any weight regain.

They found that there were long-term advantages to fast initial weight loss. Fast weight losers lost more weight overall, maintained their weight loss for longer and were not more likely to put weight back on than the more gradual weight losers, said a University of Florida release.

In particular, women in the ‘fast’ group were five times more likely to achieve the clinically significant 10 percent weight loss at 18 months than those in the ‘slow’ group and those in the ‘moderate’ group were nearly three times more likely to achieve this milestone than women in the ‘slow’ group.

These findings were published online in Springer’s International Journal of Behavioural Medicine.

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