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Weight Loss and Maintenance Variables Assessed

Study finds physical activity, eating, and environment all factor in to weight loss success

TUESDAY, Nov. 3 (HealthDay News) -- Formerly overweight people who have maintained weight loss tend to spend more calories exercising and have greater dietary restraint than obese people seeking weight loss treatment, according to a study published online Oct. 22 in the Annals of Behavioral Medicine.

Suzanne Phelan, Ph.D, of California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo, and colleagues recruited a cohort of weight loss maintainers through advertisements in newspapers and magazines, on billboards and on the radio. Two groups of treatment-seeking obese (TSO) were recruited: TSO-1 (mostly Caucasian) through an obesity treatment center and TSO-2 (mostly African-American) through primary care practices in Philadelphia. Eating, exercise and environmental factors were assessed with questionnaires.

The researchers found that, among the distinguishing characteristics for the weight loss maintainers compared separately to TSO-1 and TSO-2, were a higher level of calories expended in physical activity (odds ratios, 3.95 and 2.85, respectively); greater dietary restraint (odds ratios, 1.63 and 1.41, respectively); and less dietary disinhibition (odds ratios, 0.69 and 0.83, respectively). Among the variables in the environment were available physical activity equipment (odds ratios, 1.15 and 1.03, respectively); televisions in the home (odds ratios, 0.96 and 0.56, respectively); and the presence of high-fat foods at home (odds ratios, 0.67 and 1.00, respectively).

"Obesity treatment should focus on increasing conscious control over eating, engaging in physical activity, and reducing disinhibition. Changes in the home environment may help facilitate these behavioral changes," the authors write.

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