Weight maintenance. Know-how?

Aleksandara Klos summarises the key points presented recently at the meeting of the Association for the Study of Obesity (University of Birmingham, ASO 2014) by Dr Falko Sniehotta.



How does therapy for weight maintenance differ from therapy for weight loss? This issue is rarely addressed. At least many behavioural theories do not say anything about weight maintenance.  At the recent meeting of the Association for the Study of Obesity (University of Birmingham, ASO 2014) Dr Falko Sniehotta presented results from a systematic review (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4020585/), which included 45 randomised trials of interventions to maintain weight loss. After weight loss of ≥5% body weight obese participants were randomly allocated to weight loss maintenance or a control group. All interventions had long term (≥12 months) follow-up of weight change.

The presentation was focused only on lifestyle interventions, but in the review you can also find studies that incorporated pharmacotherapy. Behavioural interventions (referred to as “standard behavioural therapy”) targeted both food intake and physical activity. The dietary approaches for weight loss were described as general energy deficit diets, very low energy diets, low energy diets, and a combination of the two. Walking was the most common physical activity recommended for weight loss. For the weight maintenance phase most interventions continued to prescribe energy deficit diets, while others prescribed diets to maintain body weight. Some did not prescribe any diet, and others prescribed a mixture of weight loss and weight loss maintenance diets.

Dr Sniehotta emphasised that approaches did not significantly differ between weight loss intervention and weight loss maintenance. Still, theory driven interventions were more effective than non-theory based interventions. However, at this stage it is not clear which techniques are potentially more effective in helping people to maintain weight loss. Only the relatively simple 5-Step Problem Solving component seemed to have the statistically strongest effect.

To view the Full Presentation by Dr Falko Sniehotta Click:

Weight loss maintenance interventions -The role of behavioural techniques and theory – Newcastle University


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