Skip to content

Weight Loss & Diet Plans

Lifestyle Changes Help Obese Lose Weight

Studies Show Diet, Activity, or Weight Loss Programs Can Help Severely Obese People Shed Pounds
Font Size
A
A
A
By
WebMD Health News
Reviewed by Laura J. Martin, MD

Oct. 11, 2010 (San Diego) -- Calorie restriction and physical activity can help overweight, obese, and even severely obese people lose weight, according to new research presented at the annual meeting of the Obesity Society.

"These interventions can work," researcher Bret H. Goodpaster, PhD, of the University of Pittsburgh, told meeting participants. "They don't always work, but they can work."

Goodpaster says he isn't suggesting that lifestyle interventions can replace weight loss surgery, but simply that they shouldn't be ruled out as an effective strategy.

In another study presented at the meeting, overweight and obese women enrolled in a structured commercial weight loss program, Jenny Craig, lost more weight than those not in the program, says researcher Cheryl L. Rock, PhD, RD, a professor of family and preventive medicine at the University of California, San Diego.

"It works," Rock tells WebMD. "No drugs, no devices, no surgery."

Both studies were published online Saturday in TheJournal of the American Medical Association.

The research drew praise and caveats, with some experts saying the findings are cause for optimism and others saying the structured program results represent a ''best-case" scenario.

Lifestyle Interventions for Severe Obesity: What Works?

More than 14% of U.S. adults are severely obese, with a body mass index (BMI) of 35 or more. But just 1% of severely obese patients get bariatric surgery each year, according to Goodpaster.

While many experts view lifestyle approaches as ineffective for the severely obese, little research has yet been done, according to Goodpaster.

In the study, Goodpaster assigned 130 severely obese adults with an average age of 46 and all with a BMI of 35 or above into two groups. Both groups were told to reduce fat and calories and given liquid and prepackaged meal replacements for free, with meal replacements tapering off as the study progressed. Small financial rewards were given for reaching goals. Support was given in group and individual meetings and by phone.

One group began exercising at the start by walking briskly five days a week, working up to 60 minutes a session. The second group began to exercise at the six-month mark.

1 | 2 | 3

Today on WebMD

measuring waist
4 tips for shedding yours.
apple cider vinegar
Does it have health benefits?
 
Chocolate truffle
For weight loss, some aren’t so bad after all.
woman holding red dress
24 simple, practical tips.
 
woman shopping fresh produce
Video
butter curl on knife
Quiz
 
eating out healthy
Article
Smiling woman, red hair
Article
 
thumbnail_woman_tossing_spinach
Video
lunchbox
Article
 
What Girls Need To Know About Eating Disorders
Article
teen squeezing into jeans
fitfor Teens
 

Special Sections