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Am J Clin Nutr. 2003 Dec;78(6):1079-84.

Recovery from relapse among successful weight maintainers.

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Department of Psychiatry, Brown Medical School/The Miriam Hospital, 14 Third Street, Providence, RI 02906, USA.



Little is known about the natural history of weight change among persons who are successful at losing weight.


This study evaluated the occurrence of weight regain and recovery among 2400 persons in the National Weight Control Registry (NWCR) who had lost an average (+/- SD) of 32.1 +/- 17.8 kg and had kept it off for 6.5 +/- 8.1 y.


Participants were evaluated prospectively over 2 y.


The mean reported weight change from entry into the NWCR to 2 y later was 3.8 +/- 7.6 kg. At year 2, 96.4% of the sample remained > or =10% below their maximum lifetime weight. However, small regains were common, and few persons were able to re-lose weight after any weight regain. Of the participants who gained any weight between baseline and year 1 (n = 1483; 65.7%), only 11.0% returned to their baseline weight or below at year 2. Of the participants who relapsed, which was defined as a weight regain of > or =5% at year 1 (n = 575, or 25.5% of the sample), only 4.7% returned to their baseline weight or below at year 2, and only 12.9% re-lost at least half of their year 1 gain by year 2. Logistic regression showed that recovery was related to gaining less at year 1 and to smaller increases in depressive symptoms between baseline and year 1.


Although successful weight losers continued to maintain a large percentage of their weight losses over 2 y, recovery from even minor weight regain was uncommon.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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