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Follow-Up Helps Lock in Weight-Loss Program Gains

Counseling by phone or face-to-face helps women keep lost weight off

TUESDAY, Nov. 25 (HealthDay News) -- Women in rural areas are less likely to regain weight after a weight-loss program if they continue to receive counseling and support for up to a year, researchers report in the Nov. 24 issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine.

Michael G. Perri, Ph.D., of the University of Florida in Gainesville, and colleagues conducted a study of 234 women from medically underserved rural communities who had a mean weight at baseline of 96.4 kg, and who completed a six-month weight-loss program. The women were randomized to receive either 26 biweekly newsletters with weight-control advice (control group) or 26 biweekly sessions of face-to-face or telephone sessions of problem-solving counseling.

After one year, women in the counseling groups regained a mean 1.2 kg of the 10 kg of weight initially lost, versus 3.7 kg among women in the control group, the researchers report. The primary reason for the success of the counseling was greater adherence to strategies aimed at behavioral weight management, the investigators found. Phone counseling was as effective as face-to-face counseling, the study showed.

"Our findings highlight the benefits of extended-care interventions and indicate that telephone counseling represents an effective and cost-efficient approach to the management of obesity in underserved rural settings," the authors write.

Two of the study authors report a relationship with Orexigen Therapeutics.

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