Is It Possible to Control Weight?

Reprinted from Eating Disorders Review
March/April 2001 Volume 12, Number 2
©2001 Gürze Books

Can anyone really successfully control his or her weight? The results of a 3-year community-based study were not too encouraging (Int J Obesity 2000;24:1107).

Fifty-four men and women from 20 to 45 years of age were assigned to one of three treatments. Half were placed in a group who had no contact with the researchers; a fourth received educational materials through monthly newsletters, and a fourth were given educational materials and an incentive for participating in the study. The intervention groups received the same educational and behavioral messages, including monitoring their weight, eating 2 servings of fruit and 3 of vegetables daily, reducing intake of high-fat foods, and walking for at least 20 minutes 3 times a week.

Only 1 in 4 Avoided Weight Gain

More than half of the subjects gained weight over the first 12 months, and only 1 in 4 (24.5%) successfully avoided gaining weight over the 3 years. Fewer than 1 in 20 (4.6%) successfully lost weight and maintained the loss.

General public health efforts to prevent weight gain are extremely important, according to the authors. Their findings suggest that without much greater public health efforts to promote and support weight control, most people won’t be able to avoid weight gain and very few will manage to lose weight.

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