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Obes Res. 1994 Nov;2(6):587-99.

Physical activity and long-term maintenance of weight loss.

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University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic, 3811 O'Hara Street, Pittsburgh, PA 15213, USA.


To examine the effect of exercise on the long-term maintenance of weight loss, two types of literature were reviewed--correlational studies of predictors of long-term weight loss, and randomized trials comparing diet, exercise, and the combination of diet plus exercise. Both literatures were striking in the consistency with which activity emerged as a determinant of long-term maintenance of weight loss. The benefits of exercise for long-term weight maintenance were observed with different types of populations, diets, and exercise interventions. Several possible explanations for these positive effects of diet plus exercise are presented, and suggestions made for future research on ways to maximize the benefit of this approach to weight control. Since adherence to exercise may ultimately prove to be the cornerstone for long-term weight maintenance, studying ways to improve exercise adherence is recommended.

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