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Int J Obes Relat Metab Disord. 2000 Aug;24(8):1018-25.

The correlates of long-term weight loss: a group comparison study of obesity.

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Department of General Practice, Guys, Kings and St Thomas' Hospitals, Kings College, London, UK.



Although the majority of weight loss attempts are unsuccessful, a small minority succeed in both weight loss and maintenance. The present study aimed to explore the correlates of this success.


A group comparison design was used to examine differences between women who were classified as either weight loss maintainers (had been obese (body mass index, BMI=30+ kg/m2) and had lost weight to be considered non-obese (BMI<30 kg/m2) and maintained this weight loss for a minimum of 3 y; n=44), stable obese (maintained an obese weight (BMI=30+ kg/m2) for longer than 3 y; n=58), and weight loss regainers (been obese (BMI=30+ kg/m2), lost sufficient weight to be considered non-obese (BMI<30 kg/m2) and regained it (BMI=30+ kg/m2), n=40). In particular, the study examined differences in profile characteristics, historical factors, help-seeking behaviours and psychological factors.


The results showed that in terms of profile and historical factors, the weight loss maintainers had been lighter, were currently older and had dieted for longer than the other groups but were matched in terms of age, class and ethnic group. In terms of help-seeking behaviours, the weight loss maintainers reported having tried healthy eating more frequently but were comparable to the other subjects in terms of professionals contacted. Finally, for psychological factors the weight loss maintainers reported less endorsement for medical causes of obesity, greater endorsement for psychological consequences and indicated that they had been motivated to lose weight for psychological reasons.


Weight loss and maintenance is particularly correlated with a psychological model of obesity. This has implications for improving the effectiveness of interventions and the potential impact of current interest in medical approaches to obesity.

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