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Quick Weight Loss May Be Best for Long-Term Success
Date:5/14/2010

Obese women who lose 1.5 pounds a week or more fare best, researchers say

FRIDAY, May 14 (HealthDay News) --When it comes to weight-loss patterns, the old adage proclaims that "slow and steady" wins the race, but recent research suggests otherwise.

A new study found that obese women who started out losing 1.5 pounds a week or more on average and kept it up lost more weight over time than women who lost more slowly. They also maintained the loss longer and were no more likely to put it back on than the slowest losers, the researchers added.

The results shouldn't be interpreted to mean that crash diets work, said study author Lisa Nackers, a doctoral student in clinical psychology at the University of Florida, Gainesville. Her report is published online in the International Journal of Behavioral Medicine.

Rather, she said, the quicker weight loss of the fast-losing group reflected their commitment to the program, Nackers said. "The fast group attended more sessions [to talk about weight loss], completed more food records and ate fewer calories than the slow group."

Fast loss is relative. For her study, Nackers said, "fast losers are those who lost at least a pound and a half a week."

The faster loss resulted from their active participation in the program, she said. "Those who make the behavior changes early do better in terms of weight loss and long term [in keeping it off]."

For the study, Nackers drew from data on 262 participants in an obesity treatment trial that included middle-aged women, average age 59, who were obese, with an average body-mass index (BMI) of 36.8 (30 and above is obese).

During the six-month intervention, they were encouraged to reduce calories enough to lose about a pound a week. The follow-up was another 12 months, for a total of 18 months.

When Nackers tracked the weight loss, she divided the women into three groups: 69 were in the
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