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Obesity (Silver Spring). 2018 Feb;26(2):318-323. doi: 10.1002/oby.22083. Epub 2017 Dec 13.

Characterizing the Pattern of Weight Loss and Regain in Adults Enrolled in a 12-Week Internet-Based Weight Management Program.

Ross KM1,2,3, Qiu P4, You L4, Wing RR2,3.

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Department of Clinical and Health Psychology, College of Public Health and Health Professions, University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida, USA.
Department of Psychiatry and Human Behavior, Warren Alpert Medical School, Brown University, Providence, Rhode Island, USA.
The Miriam Hospital/Weight Control and Diabetes Research Center, Providence, Rhode Island, USA.
Department of Biostatistics, College of Public Health and Health Professions & College of Medicine, University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida, USA.



Although the trajectory of weight change during and/or after behavioral weight management interventions is believed to include a period of weight loss followed by maintenance and later regain, the sparse data produced by existing study designs (conducting assessments at 3- to 6-month intervals) have limited investigation into the precise pattern.


Seventy-five adults were asked to self-weigh daily via "smart" scales during a 12-week, Internet-based weight loss program and for an additional 9 months with no further intervention. Longitudinal change-point mixed-effect models were used to characterize overall weight change patterns and identify when individuals moved from weight loss to maintenance/regain.


Analyses suggested a three-phase model. During the first phase, participants lost weight at a (mean ± SE) rate of -0.46 ± 0.04 kg/wk; after 77.66 ± 3.96 days, they transitioned to regain (0.07 ± 0.02 kg/wk). The next transition occurred at 222.55 ± 7.23 days, after which the rate of regain decreased slightly (0.06 ± 0.02 kg/wk). Exploratory analyses identified baseline/demographic factors predicting the timing of transition points and slope of weight change within phases.


In contrast to the hypothesized trajectory, results demonstrated that participants transitioned immediately from weight loss to regain (with no "maintenance" period) and later to a slower rate of regain. Future studies should investigate whether extended-care programs change or merely delay this pattern.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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