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Obes Sci Pract. 2015 Oct;1(1):12-22. Epub 2015 Sep 14.

Body Weight Dynamics Following Intentional Weight Loss and Physical Performance: The Look AHEAD Movement and Memory Study.

Author information

  • 1Department of Health and Exercise Science, Wake Forest School of Medicine, Winston-Salem, NC 27157; Department of Internal Medicine, Wake Forest School of Medicine, Winston-Salem, NC 27157.
  • 2Department of Biostatistical Sciences, Wake Forest School of Medicine, Winston-Salem, NC 27157.
  • 3Department of Internal Medicine, Wake Forest School of Medicine, Winston-Salem, NC 27157.
  • 4Pennington Biomedical Research Center, Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, LA, 70808.
  • 5University of Colorado Denver School of Medicine, Aurora, CO 80010.
  • 6University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA 15203.
  • 7University of Tennessee Health Science Center, Memphis, TN 38105.



To explore the impact of body weight change following intentional weight loss on measures of physical performance in adults with diabetes.


450 individuals with type 2 diabetes (age: 59.0±6.9 years, BMI: 35.5±5.9 kg/m2) who participated in the Look AHEAD Movement and Memory Study and lost weight one year after being randomized to an intensive lifestyle intervention were assessed. Body weight was measured annually, and participants were categorized as continued losers/maintainers, regainers, or cyclers based on a ±5% annual change in weight. Objective measures of physical performance were measured at the year 8/9 visit.


Forty-four, 38 and 18% of participants were classified as regainers, cyclers, and continued losers/maintainers. In women, weight cycling and regain was associated with worse follow-up expanded physical performance battery score (1.46±0.07 and 1.48±0.07 vs. 1.63±0.07, both p≤0.02) and slower 20-meter walking speed (1.10±0.04 and 1.08±0.04 m/s vs. 1.17±0.04 m/s, both p<0.05) compared to continued or maintained weight loss. Male cyclers presented with weaker grip strength compared to regainers or continued losers/maintainers (30.12±2.21 kg versus 34.46±2.04 and 37.39±2.26 kg; both p<0.01).


Weight cycling and regain following intentional weight loss in older adults with diabetes was associated with worse physical function in women and grip strength in men.


Physical performance; Type 2 diabetes mellitus; Weight cycling; Weight loss

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