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Sustained weight loss with increased physical activity

The Archives of Internal Medicine has published the results of a two year study that examined the effect of physical activity on maintenance of weight loss.

201 obese women aged 21-45 years with a body mass index of 27 to 40 were randomly assigned to one of four physical activity interventions based on physical activity energy expenditure (1000 vs 2000 kcal/wk) and intensity (moderate vs vigorous) in combination with a calorie controlled diet.

Weight loss at 6 months and 2 years did not differ between any of the groups however a post-hoc analysis showed that individuals who lost more than 10% body weight over 2 years reported higher levels of activity (equivalent to 40 minutes per day) than those who lost less than 10% body weight in the same period.

The authors conclude that, "physical activity, in combination with a reduction in energy intake, is important in allowing overweight women to sustain a weight loss of more than 10%". They also point out that patients are likely to require assistance to achieve this level of physical activity.

Action: Clinicians should ensure they are aware of local programmes to encourage sustained physical activity. In combination with a healthy diet long-term weight loss is possible.