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Am J Clin Nutr. 2015 Nov;102(5):995-9. doi: 10.3945/ajcn.115.115402. Epub 2015 Sep 9.

Short-term variability in body weight predicts long-term weight gain.

Author information

  • 1Drexel University, Philadelphia, PA; and lowe@drexel.edu.
  • 2Drexel University, Philadelphia, PA; and.
  • 3Oregon Research Institute, Eugene, OR.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Body weight in lower animals and humans is highly stable despite a very large flux in energy intake and expenditure over time. Conversely, the existence of higher-than-average variability in weight may indicate a disruption in the mechanisms responsible for homeostatic weight regulation.

OBJECTIVE:

In a sample chosen for weight-gain proneness, we evaluated whether weight variability over a 6-mo period predicted subsequent weight change from 6 to 24 mo.

DESIGN:

A total of 171 nonobese women were recruited to participate in this longitudinal study in which weight was measured 4 times over 24 mo. The initial 3 weights were used to calculate weight variability with the use of a root mean square error approach to assess fluctuations in weight independent of trajectory. Linear regression analysis was used to examine whether weight variability in the initial 6 mo predicted weight change 18 mo later.

RESULTS:

Greater weight variability significantly predicted amount of weight gained. This result was unchanged after control for baseline body mass index (BMI) and BMI change from baseline to 6 mo and for measures of disinhibition, restrained eating, and dieting.

CONCLUSIONS:

Elevated weight variability in young women may signal the degradation of body weight regulatory systems. In an obesogenic environment this may eventuate in accelerated weight gain, particularly in those with a genetic susceptibility toward overweight. Future research is needed to evaluate the reliability of weight variability as a predictor of future weight gain and the sources of its predictive effect. The trial on which this study is based is registered at clinicaltrials.gov as NCT00456131.

KEYWORDS:

body weight; set point; weight fluctuations; weight gain; weight variability

PMID:
26354535
PMCID:
PMC4625595
DOI:
10.3945/ajcn.115.115402
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
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