Postprint version. Published in International Journal of Obesity and Related Metabolic Disorders, Volume 25, Issue 3, March 1, 2001, pages 325-331. Publisher website: http://www.nature.com. The definitive version is available online at: http://www.nature.com/ijo/journal/v25/n3/abs/0801521a.html
OBJECTIVE: To determine weight loss maintenance among participants in a commercial weight loss program (Weight Watchers) who had reached their goal weights 1-5 y previously.
DESIGN: A national sample (n=1002) was surveyed by phone to obtain demographic and weight-related information. An oversample (n=258) was recruited and weighed in person to develop a correction factor for self-reported weights in the national sample.
RESULTS: Based on corrected weights, weight regain from 1 to 5 y following weight loss ranged between 31.5 and 76.5%. At 5 y, 19.4% were within 5 lb of goal weight, 42.6% maintained a loss of 5% or more, 18.8% maintained a loss of 10% or more, and 70.3% were below initial weight.
CONCLUSIONS: These results are not directly comparable to those obtained in clinical settings because of differences in the populations studied. Nonetheless, they suggest that the long-term prognosis for weight maintenance among individuals who reach goal weight in at least one commercial program is better than that suggested by existing research.