Discovering the predictors of successful weight loss maintenance

Screen Shot 2019-08-14 at 15.05.38.pngEvans et al., JHND Early View unknown-2


The prevalence of weight loss attempts has increased worldwide, although the extent to which sustained weight loss is achieved is unknown. There is insufficient research into weight loss maintenance (WLM) in individuals with overweight or obesity who have recently lost clinically significant amounts of weight (≥5%), particularly in the European general population. The present study aimed to determine the prevalence and retrospective predictors of WLM in population‐based samples of European adults with overweight or obesity who had made a recently completed weight loss attempt.


Participants (N = 2000) in UK, Denmark and Portugal completed an online survey about loss and regain in their most recent completed weight loss attempt, features of their attempt (duration, self‐weighing, lapses, strategies), as well as loss of control and binge eating. Multiple regression analysis was used to determine factors retrospectively associated with WLM in those who achieved clinically significant weight loss (n = 1272).


Mean (SD) self‐reported weight loss was 9% (8%) and mean (SD) regain was 96.3% (9%) of participants’ start weight. Twenty‐three percent of the total sample had maintained weight loss of ≥5% for at least 1 month. Controlling for weight loss and time since attempt, predictors of better WLM were avoidance of a temporary lapse, infrequent/absent loss of control and binge eating, and use of a greater number of dietary strategies for WLM (r2 = 0.338, < 0.001).

Principal conclusions

Factors associated with recent successful WLM indicate the importance of the continued use of dietary and other strategies for WLM, particularly in the face of a lapse, as well as the need to manage dysfunctional eating behaviours.

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