St. Louis, MO, April 26, 2010 Energy in, energy out, it's the basic equation to weight loss, or is it? With more than two thirds of Americans classified as overweight or obese1, a study in the May/June 2010 issue of the Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior examines how motivation might be a large contributor to sticking with weight loss programs.
Researchers at the University of Kentucky and University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill examined two types of motivation, autonomous and controlled, and their relationship to adherence and weight loss in a 16-week Internet weight-loss intervention. To measure the 2 types of motivation, a Treatment Self-Regulation Questionnaire was used to identify those participants motivated by intrinsic and extrinsic controls such as feeling that performance is the best way to help oneself and making changes for personal reasons (autonomous motivation) and those participants motivated by only external controls such as perceived pressure from others and feelings of guilt (controlled motivation). Motivation for weight loss was measured at baseline and 4, 8, 12, and 16 weeks. In addition, study participants recorded their food intake, exercise, and body weight through an on-line self-monitoring system weekly throughout the study.
Over half of the participants (37 of 66) lost 5% of initial body weight at the 16-week follow-up. To examine the relationship between the 2 different types of motivation and weight loss, the sample was divided into those who had and those who had not lost 5% of initial body weight by 16 weeks (37 and 29 participants, respectively). The researchers found that the majority of participants had a significant increase in autonomous and controlled motivation between baseline and 4 weeks, though it's not clear what caused the increase in motivation at 4 weeks, the face-to-face session given at the start of the study, early success with weight loss, or something else. Although mo
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Elsevier Health Sciences