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Americans struggle with long-term weight loss
Date:9/3/2010

Only about one in every six Americans who have ever been overweight or obese loses weight and maintains that loss, according to Penn State College of Medicine researchers.

While that number is larger than most weight-loss clinical trials report, the majority of Americans are still unable to lose weight and keep it off. Identifying those who lose weight and successfully maintain that loss may aid health professionals in developing approaches to help others maintain weight loss, the researchers say.

Two-thirds of the United States adult population is overweight, defined as a body mass index (BMI) of at least 25, or obese, a BMI of at least 30. Obesity rates, which doubled between 1980 and 2004, increase the risk of type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure. The recommendation is often to lose at least 5 to 10 percent of initial body weight with these conditions.

Weight loss and weight maintenance programs need significant changes in their effectiveness and availability to affect these numbers, note the researchers.

"It is important for health professionals to understand the true prevalence of long-term weight loss, as it may help to change the underlying beliefs and influence clinical practice," said Jennifer Kraschnewski, M.D., M.P.H., assistant professor of medicine and public health sciences. "Studies have shown that physicians may not believe offering weight loss advice and counseling is a worthwhile activity in clinical practice. An awareness of our findings may encourage health professionals to pursue weight loss counseling for overweight patients."

Previously, data came from either published clinical trials or the National Weight-Control Registry, comprised only of those able to lose at least 30 pounds and keep it off for a year. The registry does not represent the entire population, so it is not useful for providing estimates of long-term weight loss in the country.

Penn State College of Medicine researchers analyzed data
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Contact: Matt Solovey
msolovey@hmc.psu.edu
717-531-8606
Penn State
Source:Eurekalert

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