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Obesity (Silver Spring). 2010 Apr;18(4):833-40. doi: 10.1038/oby.2009.275. Epub 2009 Aug 20.

Identification and prediction of latent classes of weight-loss strategies among women.

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  • 1The Methodology Center, The Pennsylvania State University, University Park, Pennsylvania, USA.


We apply latent class analysis (LCA) to quantify multidimensional patterns of weight-loss strategies in a sample of 197 women, and explore the degree to which dietary restraint, disinhibition, and other individual characteristics predict membership in latent classes of weight-loss strategies. Latent class models were fit to a set of 14 healthy and unhealthy weight-loss strategies. BMI, weight concern, body satisfaction, depression, dietary disinhibition and restraint, and the interaction of disinhibition and restraint were included as predictors of latent class membership. All analyses were conducted with PROC LCA, a recently developed SAS procedure available for download. Results revealed four subgroups of women based on their history of weight-loss strategies: No Weight Loss Strategy (10.0%), Dietary Guidelines (26.5%), Guidelines+Macronutrients (39.4%), and Guidelines+Macronutrients+Restrictive (24.2%). BMI, weight concerns, the desire to be thinner, disinhibition, and dietary restraint were all significantly related to weight-control strategy latent class. Among women with low dietary restraint, disinhibition increases the odds of engaging in any set of weight-loss strategies vs. none, whereas among medium- and high-restraint women disinhibition increases the odds of use of unhealthy vs. healthy strategies. LCA was an effective tool for organizing multiple weight-loss strategies in order to identify subgroups of individuals who have engaged in particular sets of strategies over time. This person-centered approach provides a measure weight-control status, where the different statuses are characterized by particular combinations of healthy and unhealthy weight-loss strategies.

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