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Int J Obes. 1978;2(4):441-7.

Factors determining weight loss in obese patients in a metabolic ward.


A metabolic unit is described in which it is possible to make controlled measurements of energy balance in patients with various types and degrees of obesity. Thirty-seven obese women were studied for three consecutive one-week periods on a diet which provided an average of 3.4MJ (800 kcal) daily, and some also undertook an exercise programme involving the expenditure of 850--1275 kJ (200--300 kcal) extra per day. The distribution of energy intake was varied from week to week, and within the day (nibbling and gorging), but neither these variations in dietary pattern nor the exercise programme significantly affected the total weight loss over the three-week study period. Very large variations were observed between individuals. Total weight loss over the three-week study period ranged from 1.6 to 9.8 kg. The best predictor of weight loss in a patient on a strictly controlled diet is the resting metabolic rate. The previous diet also affects weight loss: patients who had been keeping to a reducing diet before admission lost less weight, especially in the first week, than those who had not been dieting immediately before admission to hospital.

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