Two Impressive Trials: Weight Management That Works

Weight management that works doesn’t need a lot of bells and whistles. It just needs smart people designing the program with good attention to details. Two such impressive studies were presented at ObesityWeek 2014. They produced impressive weight loss in the range of 12 to 18% with very straightforward programs.

The first was a study led by John Jakicic of the University of Pittsburgh, with an analysis of the different levels of physical activity and 18-month weight loss outcomes. They found that people with 200-300 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity weekly  along with light physical activity and a reduced calorie diet could maintain weight loss in the range of 18%. The authors note that this analysis is the product of a post-hoc analysis that requires cautious interpretation and further confirmation. Regardless, these outcomes captured our attention and would be worth replicating.

The second study demonstrated impressive outcomes in a rural population with a behavioral program modeled after the Diabetes Prevention Program and administered by county extension agents. The study compared three levels of counseling intensity. Michael Perri and colleagues delivered weight loss of 11% in the intensive treatment group and solid two-year outcomes.

These studies provide a reminder that even basic interventions can deliver medically significant outcomes for people who respond. For those who don’t, we need to keep investigating new options and providing people the care they need to achieve the health they are seeking.

Click here for the study by Jakicic et al and here for the study by Perri et al.

Working the Fields, photograph © edward musiak / flickr

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