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J Consult Clin Psychol. 1996 Jun;64(3):587-92.

Psychosocial consequences of weight cycling.

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  • 1Department of Psychiatry, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia 19104, USA.


Participants were 130 obese women with a mean age of 41.1 +/- 8.4 years and a mean weight of 97.9 +/- 13.5 kg, who reported having undertaken a mean lifetime total of 4.7 +/- 1.2 major diets on which they had lost a mean total of 45.9 +/- 21.4 kg. Participants with a severe history of weight cycling had a significantly younger age of onset of their obesity than did mild cyclers and reported initiating dieting at a significantly younger age and lower weight. No evidence, however, was found that weight cycling was associated with greater reports of depression or other psychopathology; nor was it associated with a significantly greater frequency of binge eating disorder. The results are discussed in terms of the need to use additional measures of psychological functioning.

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