Eight-Year Look AHEAD Results Show 50% of Participants Kept Off 5% or More of
Initial Weight Lost
SILVER SPRING, Md., Jan. 14, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The largest United
States weight-loss study using diet and exercise alone shows long-term weight
loss is possible through intensive lifestyle intervention (ILI) for weight
management. These results are part of the newly released 8-year findings of the
Look AHEAD study published in the January issue of Obesity, the official journal
of The Obesity Society. Researchers found that ILI produced clinically
meaningful weight loss (>- 5%) over eight years in half of individuals with type
2 diabetes and believe the intervention can be used for long-term management of
obesity-related co-morbid conditions. ILI was superior to Diabetes Support and
Education (DSE), the standard treatment for diabetes, using several criteria,
including percentage of initial weight lost at year 1 (8.5% ILI vs. 0.6% DSE)
and kept off at year 8 (4.7% ILI vs. 2.1% DSE).
"Obesity is associated with multiple health conditions, including type 2
diabetes, sleep apnea, impaired physical function, and depression, and a 5
percent reduction in initial weight can have significant benefits on health,"
said study author Thomas Wadden, PhD, of the University of Pennsylvania. "This
study shows intensive lifestyle programs that involve frequent treatment visits
in the first year, and weight-loss maintenance programs in years 2 - 8, can help
keep the weight off over the long-term and reduce comorbid conditions. The
follow-up rates are the best of any weight loss trial in the U.S., giving us
very high confidence in these results and the implications for obesity
Weight regain for people treated for obesity/overweight is one of the biggest
problems facing efforts to combat the epidemic, and prior research has shown
that individuals regain the majority of weight lost within three to five years.
Although some weight regain occurred in this study, Look AHEAD's 8-year trial
results stand in contrast to this prior research, with study participants
maintaining more than half of their weight loss after 8 years. Further, nearly
40% of participants who lost >-10% of initial weight at year 1 maintained this
loss at year 8.
"The success in keeping off the weight is as good or better than achieved in any
other long-term study of diet and exercise for weight loss," said Adam Tsai, MD,
The Obesity Society Public Affairs Chair.
According to an editorial on the study in Obesity, this success is "likely due
to the intensive and comprehensive nature of the lifestyle intervention, and
confidence in the study's findings is underscored by the trial's excellent rate
In addition, weight losses were similar among men and women, and across
racial-ethnic subgroups, indicating that all individuals can benefit from an
intensive diet and exercise intervention.
"Intensive lifestyle interventions, like Look AHEAD, can be successful for
people affected by obesity and overweight across the board, regardless of
racial-ethnic background, and can lead to improvements in quality of life, mood,
mobility, fitness and reduced need for medication," continued Dr. Tsai. "The
next step is to replicate interventions like Look AHEAD, but at a lower cost and
for more people, and to determine which individuals can benefit most."
The Look AHEAD trial is the largest and longest randomized controlled trial of
behavioral intervention for weight loss and was designed to assess the effects
of an intensive intervention on cardiovascular disease outcomes, as well as
multiple other health outcomes in people with overweight/obesity and type 2
diabetes. The initial results of the study were published in the New England
Journal of Medicine earlier in 2013.
Read the full study online here and the editorial here.
About The Obesity Society
The Obesity Society (TOS) is the leading professional society dedicated to
better understanding, preventing and treating obesity. Through research,
education and advocacy, TOS is committed to improving the lives of those
affected by the disease. For more information visit: www.Obesity.org.
SOURCE The Obesity Society