Long-term maintenance of exercise and healthy eating behaviors in overweight adults

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Date of Original Version



Background. Most people experience weight regain following the termination of a weight management program. The failure to maintain changes in diet and exercise patterns is a major factor. This study presents 24-month outcomes of a healthy-lifestyle weight management program designed to promote long-term changes in diet and exercise behaviors. Methods. Overweight and obese adults (n = 144; BMI = 32.5 ± 3.8) completed a 6-month clinic-based weight management program and were followed for an additional 18 months. Assessments completed at baseline, 6, 12, and 24 months included weight, body composition, dietary recalls, self-reported physical activity, and mediator variables based on Transtheoretical Model of Health Behavior Change. Results. At 24 months, subjects maintained decreases in weight, % body fat, caloric intake, % kcal saturated fat, and increases in weekly exercise minutes (P < 0.05). Individuals who maintained regular exercise at 24 months had higher confidence scores and higher use of experiential and behavioral processes. Individuals who maintained a healthy diet at 24 months had lower temptation scores and higher use of experiential and behavioral processes. Conclusions. A healthy-lifestyle weight management program is successful at promoting long-term changes in exercise and dietary behaviors. Individuals who actively engage in the maintenance process are more likely to succeed. © 2004 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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Preventive Medicine