Sustaining weight loss at the long term is difficult.
Purpose: To examine if eating behaviors, physical activity levels, and program participation influence ones ability to achieve ≥5%, ≥7%, and ≥10% weight loss during a period of 24 months.
Methods: Data from 170 overweight and obese women (body mass index = 32.7 ± 4.2 kg·m−2) were analyzed in this study. All women followed a standard 24-month behavioral weight loss program in which they were instructed to decrease caloric intake and increase physical activity levels. Eating behaviors, body weight, and physical activity levels were assessed at baseline and at 6 and 24 months. Program participation was evaluated by the percentage of group meetings attended and the percentage of telephone calls completed with an interventionist. Three separate stepwise linear regression analyses were performed to identify variables that were predictive of ≥5%, ≥7%, and ≥10% weight loss at 24 months.
Results: The percentage of telephone calls completed and change in weight loss eating behaviors predicted ≥5% (r2 = 0.16), ≥7% (r2 = 0.14), and ≥10% weight loss (r2 = 0.10) at 24 months. However, the change in physical activity levels from baseline to 24 months was only predictive of weight losses ≥10% (r2 = 0.11).
Conclusions: Behavioral factors, such as adopting healthy eating behaviors and telephone contact time, are important components that assist individuals in achieving weight losses ≥5%. However, high levels of physical activity play a more prominent role in sustaining weight losses ≥10%. Therefore, innovative strategies to enhance long-term exercise adherence should be developed.