Date of Award


Degree Name

MS in Nutrition


Food Science and Nutrition


Suzanne Phelan


Objective: This study’s purpose was to examine dietary quality, macronutrient intake, and micronutrient adequacy among long term weight loss maintainers (WLM) in a commercial weight management program.

Methods: Participants were 1,207 WLM in WW (formerly Weight Watchers) who had maintained a 9.1 kg or greater weight loss (29.7 kg on average) for 3.4 years, and had an average BMI of 28.3 kg/m2. A control group of weight stable adults with obesity (Controls; N=102) had a BMI of 41.1 kg/m2 and 2.3 kg or less weight change over the previous five years.

Results: WLM vs. Controls had a 10.1 point higher HEI-2015 score (70.2 [69.7 - 70.7] vs 60.1 [58.4 - 61.8], respectively; p=0.0001) in analyses that adjusted for group difference in demographic factors. WLM versus Controls had a significantly higher average percentage of calories from carbohydrates (50.3% [49.7 - 50.8] vs 46.7% [44.8 - 48.7], respectively; p=0.0001) and protein (18.2% [18.0-18.5] vs 15.9% [15.1-16.6], respectively; p=0.0001) and lower percentage of calories from fat (32.3% [31.9-32.8] vs 37.4% [35.8-38.9], respectively; p=0.0001). Examining micronutrients, WLM had significantly higher odds for meeting the EAR for copper (OR=5.8 [2.6-13.1]; p=0.0001), magnesium (OR=2.9 [1.8-4.7]; p=0.0001), potassium (OR=4.7 [1.4-16.5]; p=0.015), vitamin A (OR=2.8 [1.7-4.8]; p=0.0001), thiamin (OR=2.3 [1.3-4.1]; p=0.003), riboflavin (OR=6.5 [2.2-19.3]; p=0.001), vitamin B6 (OR=2.91 [1.6-5.2]; p=0.0001), vitamin C (OR=5.0 [2.8-8.8]; p=0.0001), folate (OR=2.2 [1.3-3.7]; p=0.003), and vitamin E (OR=1.8 [1.1-2.8]; p=0.014) and didn’t differ in calcium (OR=1.15 [0.7-1.7]; p=0.823), iron (OR=1.9 [0.8-4.6]; p=0.151), phosphorus (OR=2.0 [0.9-4.5]; p=0.101), selenium (OR=1.6 [0.6-3.8]; p=0.332), zinc (OR=1.7 [0.9-3.0]; p=0.095), niacin (B3) (OR=1.9 [0.8-4.1]; p=0.136), vitamin B12 (OR=1.2 [0.5-2.8]; p=0.625), and vitamin D (OR=1.5 [0.9-2.4]; p=0.09).

Conclusions In a widely available commercial program, WLM consumed a healthier and more micronutrient rich diet than adults who were weight stable with obesity. Future research is needed to examine whether improved micronutrient status among WLM reduces risk of chronic disease.

Included in

Nutrition Commons