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Ann Behav Med. 2009 Oct;38(2):94-104. doi: 10.1007/s12160-009-9135-2.

What distinguishes weight-loss maintainers from the treatment-seeking obese? Analysis of environmental, behavioral, and psychosocial variables in diverse populations.

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  • 1Department of Kinesiology, California Polytechnic State University, 1 Grand Avenue, San Luis Obispo, CA 93401, USA.



Understanding the factors that influence successful weight control is critical for developing interventions.


The purpose of the study was to provide a comprehensive understanding of the role of psychosocial, environmental, and behavioral variables in distinguishing weight-loss maintainers (WLM) from treatment-seeking obese (TSO).


WLM (n = 167) had lost > or =10% of their maximum body weight, had kept the weight off for > or =5 years, and were now of normal weight. TSO-1 and TSO-2 had a history of dieting and body mass index > or =25. TSO-1 was predominantly Caucasian; TSO-2 was predominantly African-American. Bayesian model averaging was used to identify the variables that distinguished WLM from TSO-1 and TSO-2.


The variables that most consistently discriminated WLM from TSO were more physical activity (ORs = 3.95 and 2.85), more dietary restraint (ORs = 1.63 and 1.41), and less dietary disinhibition (ORs = 0.69 and 0.83). Environmental variables, including the availability of physical activity equipment, TVs, and high-fat foods in the home, also distinguished WLM from TSO.


Obesity treatment should focus on increasing conscious control over eating, engaging in physical activity, and reducing disinhibition. Changes in the home environment may help facilitate these behavioral changes.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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