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Am J Clin Nutr. 1994 Nov;60(5):688-94.

A prospective study of weight maintenance in obese subjects reduced to normal body weight without weight-loss training.

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Department of Nutrition Sciences, University of Alabama at Birmingham.


We examined the pattern of weight maintenance in 24 obese women [body mass index (BMI; in kg/m2) 27.6 +/- 0.4 who were provided foods for a balanced deficit diet until each had lost > or = 10 kg and attained normal body weight (BMI 22.9 +/- 0.4). At 1 y subjects had regained a mean of 42% of their weight loss, which increased to 87% at 4 y. At 4 y 44% of patients had regained < 75%, whereas 37% had regained > or = 100% of the weight originally lost. The amount of weight gained was markedly different from that observed in 24 pair-matched never-obese control subjects over the same length of follow-up. Because the results reported herein were obtained without teaching the subjects weight-control skills, they may be regarded as reflective of the natural history of weight maintenance in this population and may serve as a reference for various weight-intervention programs. The pattern of weight rebound observed in this study is very similar to the pattern observed in combined results from published diet and behavioral-modification programs, which raises important questions regarding the efficacy of these approaches in long-term weight maintenance.

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