Thursday, March 22, 2018

It Is Possible to Lose and Maintain Weight Loss Long-Term

It is believed by most people that no one can lose weight and maintain weight loss long-term. Further, it is often stated that there is no way to predict who will be successful at losing weight. However, a long-term study, called the Look AHEAD study, showed that it is possible to lose weight and maintain the weight loss long-term. The study results also showed that it is possible to predict who will be the most successful at losing weight.

“The Look AHEAD (Action for Health in Diabetes) study [was] a multi-center, randomized controlled trial, designed to determine whether intentional weight loss reduces cardiovascular morbidity and mortality in overweight individuals with type 2 diabetes.” The study consisted of over 5000 subjects, and ran for about ten years.

It was found that for 42% of the persons, who lost at least 10% of their weight during the first year of the weight loss program, were able to maintain the weight loss for at least four years. Further, it was concluded that those participants who lost at least 5% of their body weight, at the end of the first month of a weight loss program, were more likely to lose at least 10% of their weight after one year compared to those participants who lost less than 2% of their weight at one month.

At any rate, it appears that providers should resist the temptation to tell people that weight loss and long-term weight-loss maintenance are virtually impossible. It is possible to lose and maintain weight loss as the above mentioned study shows. And those individuals most likely to lose appreciable weight can be identified early in the weight loss program.

Finally, weight loss lessens the risk of negative cardiovascular outcomes. A study, which was a follow-on study to the Look AHEAD study, found that 85% of the Look AHEAD subjects experienced a significant reduction in cardiovascular events as a result of the weight loss. Although 15% of the subjects did experience negative outcomes, for those subjects, the negative outcomes may be associated with depression. Also, the subjects' "substantially poorer compliance with the exercise portion of the intervention" may have played a role in the negative outcomes.

At any rate, it is possible to lose weight and maintain the weight loss for a long period of time.


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