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Weight Maintenance in Adults
Maintaining Healthy Weight Requires Lifetime Effort
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Weight Maintenance in Adults

Weight Maintenance Trials
Many weight loss trials show that weight loss maintenance is difficult to sustain over time in adulthood. Using a general population sample of adults whose weights were longitudinally tracked across several decades, we quantified resistance of weight to change by means of body mass index autocorrelation across a series of paired time points. Equations for age-adjusted gender-specific body mass index autocorrelation were developed. We found that body weight is quite resistant to change over years and decades. This finding partially de-mystifies the weight regain observed following intervention that last weeks or months.

Weight Maintenance Trials - BMI
We developed equations for age-adjusted sex-specific BMI autocorrelation using 5209 subjects 28 years of age and older at baseline from the Framingham Heart Study.
It was apparent from these equations that body weight is quite resistant to change over years and decades; the predicted autocorrelation of BMI over 10 years exceeded 0.85 for either men or women. Women tend to have a larger BMI autocorrelation than men over time, suggesting that women's weight is more resistant to change and that the stability of BMI tends to decline over time, perhaps more so for men. The decline in BMI autocorrelation, represented in slopes, was smaller in women. This finding partially de-mystifies the weight regain so commonly observed following interventions that last only weeks or months.

Weight Maintenance Trials - Conclusion
Over a 30 year time span, the typical weight loss induced by time-limited interventions might be perceived as important but transient deviations from an otherwise unrelenting trajectory. Despite practical challenges to the individual physician and society, obesity treatment/prevention may best be recast as a lifelong endeavor that can be built into the natural fabric of everyday life.

Source: International Journal of Obesity

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