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Intensive Behavioral Program Can Help with Weight Loss

Effective and low-risk for some severely obese people

WEDNESDAY, Aug. 29 (HealthDay News) -- An intensive behavioral program comprising meal replacements and low-energy diets can help some severely obese people lose over 100 pounds with few risks, according to study findings published in the August issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

James W. Anderson, M.D., of the University of Kentucky in Lexington, and colleagues conducted long-term follow-up of 63 men and 55 women who were severely obese at baseline, weighing on average 352 pounds, and who subsequently lost at least 100 pounds as a result of meal replacements, low-energy diets, and training in record-keeping and physical activity.

At baseline all but 3 percent of the cohort had at least one obesity-related medical condition and 74 percent were taking medication as a result of their obesity. Over the course of follow-up, the average weight loss was 134 pounds in 44 weeks, and 66 percent of patients stopped taking medications, saving an average of $100 a month. At the five-year mark, subjects maintained an average 66 pounds of weight loss. Cholesterol, glucose and blood pressure measures all showed significant improvements.

"Most of the patients participated in active treatment and weekly behavioral education sessions for more than 18 months during weight loss and initial maintenance activities," the authors write.

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