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Americans Struggle With Long-Term Weight Loss

September 6, 2010

(Ivanhoe Newswire) – Only about one in every six Americans who have ever been overweight or obese loses weight and maintains that loss, according to Penn State College of Medicine researchers.

Two-thirds of the United States adult population is overweight, defined as a body mass index (BMI) of at least 25, or obese, a BMI of at least 30. Obesity rates, which doubled between 1980 and 2004, increase the risk of type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure. The recommendation is often to lose at least 5 to 10 percent of initial body weight with these conditions.

“It is important for health professionals to understand the true prevalence of long-term weight loss, as it may help to change the underlying beliefs and influence clinical practice,” Jennifer Kraschnewski, M.D., was quoted as saying. “Studies have shown that physicians may not believe offering weight loss advice and counseling is a worthwhile activity in clinical practice. An awareness of our findings may encourage health professionals to pursue weight loss counseling for overweight patients.”

Penn State College of Medicine researchers analyzed data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey from 1999-2006, a nationwide survey evaluating the health and nutrition of a representative portion of the population. Participants of this survey self-reported weight status and history.

Thirty-six percent of the sample had maintained a weight loss of at least 5 percent of their initial body weight. This is a higher rate than clinical trials, which have shown only 10 to 20 percent of individuals able to maintain a loss of at least five percent. This difference may be that while those who participate in clinical trials are a selected population, the numbers in the current study include unintentional weight loss, or the current study captures temporary weight gain that is typically lost at specific instances, such as the so-called “Freshman 15.”

SOURCE : International Journal of Obesity, September 2010




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