Obese struggle to maintain weight loss
Obese people are highly unlikely to achieve a sustained healthy body weight through dieting and exercise, according to a new study.
King's College London (KCL) research claims current weight-management programmes are failing to lead to prolonged success.
Weight loss targets
Obese people are usually given weight loss targets of around 5% to 10% of their body weight.
But only 1 in 10 women, and 1 in 12 men, achieve this goal after being put on a diet or exercise regime.
Of those who manage to hit a 5% weight loss goal, 53% put the weight back on in 2 years, while 78% regain the lost weight after 5 years.
The study considered those who used exercise or dieting to lose weight, but not those who used bariatric - or weight loss - surgery.
It also found just 1 in 210 obese men ever attain a ‘normal’ body weight, while women have better odds at 1 in 124.
For those with severe obesity (a BMI over 40), the numbers are considerably worse. Just 1 in 1,290 men and 1 in 677 women go on to achieve a normal BMI.
Current programmes are failing
One in four British adults is obese, according to the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation.
The researchers suggest current weight-management programmes, which focus on diets and exercise regimes, are not effective in producing sustained weight loss.
‘Weight cycling’, fluctuations up and down in weight, was also discovered in a third of the patients.
Dr Alison Fildes, of the Division of Health and Social Care Research at KCL, says while there are many health benefits when these people lose 5-10% of their body weight, the findings show how difficult it is for them to maintain their new weight.
She adds once someone becomes obese, it’s highly likely they’ll remain that way.
She is calling for new approaches to handle the growing issue, suggesting future treatments should focus on preventing obesity.
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