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J Gerontol B Psychol Sci Soc Sci. 2011 May;66(3):279-86. doi: 10.1093/geronb/gbq104. Epub 2011 Feb 3.

Weight loss and self-regulatory eating efficacy in older adults: the cooperative lifestyle intervention program.

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Department of Health and Exercise Science, Wake Forest University, P.O. Box 7868, Winston-Salem, NC 27109, USA.



Using the weight efficacy lifestyle questionnaire (WEL), we examined whether a group-mediated intervention for weight loss among older, obese adults resulted in changes in self-regulatory self-efficacy for eating behavior and whether these changes mediated weight loss.


This was a randomized controlled design, and 288 older adults received 1 of 3 treatments for 6 months: physical activity only (PA), weight loss + physical activity (WL + PA), or a successful aging (SA) health education program. The WEL was administered prior to randomization and again at the 6-month follow-up visit.


A significant treatment effect was observed for the WEL, F (2249) = 15.11, p < .0001, partial eta2 = .11, showing that improvement occurred only in the WL + PA group as compared with PA and SA. Changes in WEL scores partially mediated the effects of the WL + PA intervention on weight loss.


These results illustrate that WL + PA can be effective in improving older adults' self-efficacy for the self-regulation of eating behavior and that these changes are prospectively related to the amount of weight loss. Further research is warranted on an expanded concept of self-efficacy as well as controlled experimental studies on eating behavior in older adults.

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