Study offers new way to diet: Just don't gain - KYTX CBS 19 Tyler Longview News Weather Sports

Study offers new way to diet: Just don't gain

Posted:

Courtesy NBC News

If you've tried to drop more than a few pounds and are disappointed when the scale won't budge, a surprising new study may help you feel better. 

Researchers from Duke University found that by focusing on not gaining weight, rather than losing, people are more likely to stay committed to a long-term plan and avoid the dreaded "weight creep" -- that is, gaining one or two pounds a year. Weight creep is part of what causes someone to go beyond simply being overweight or early obesity to more serious medical obesity and increased health risks. 

Duke researchers targeted 194 premenopausal African-American women who were overweight, or Class 1 obese -- that is, with a body mass index between 25 and 34.9. African-American women historically have had even less weight-loss success than other groups, including African-American men, and Caucasian men and women. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 80 percent of black women are considered overweight or obese, compared to the incidence in white women of around 60 percent.

Their average age was 35.4 years (range between 24 – 44 years), with an average BMI of 30.2 (range between 25 and 34.9 and an average weight of 179 pounds). Participants were told this was NOT a weight loss study, and that their goal was lifestyle change to improve their overall well being and to maintain their current body shape. 

The thinking was, if new strategies could help black women who were overweight or class 1 obese stabilize their weight, then the plan could be a long-term, scalable and economic way to battle the obesity epidemic.

Using the "Shape" intervention plan, a one-year evidence-based treatment program, participants made improved food choices, trimmed less than 200 calories a day (weight-loss programs typically aim for 500-1000 fewer calories per day), boosted daily activity, and participated in a variety of self-monitoring activities. Over the 12-month intervention, participants received a series of behavior change goals to create the necessary modest calorie deficit, along with weekly interactive voice response telephone calls, and a YMCA memberships. Monthly counseling calls from a registered dietician, along with personalized training materials rounded out this "self-care" directed program. 

The "usual care" comparison group did not receive special weight, nutrition, or physical activity counseling, but did receive a wellness newsletter every six months for the 12 month study period.

The drop-out rate for participation was extremely low, particularly important to long-term success. The study group participants were not only engaged after 6 months, but at the 12- and 18-month time points as well. More than 90 percent completed all 4 study visits (including baseline). At the end of the 12-month study period, program participants had an average weight decline of about 2 pounds, compared to the usual care group. 

Nearly two-thirds (62 percent) of the study group were at or below their baseline weight, compared to about 45 percent of the control group. At the end of 18 months, the study group maintained that change, while the usual care group crept up to a roughly 1 pound weight gain.  

And about half (53 percent) of the study group sustained that change after a year-and a-half, compared to the control group, which dropped to 38.5 percent.

Though the study was done in African-American women, this strategy could likely produce positive results in the general population, as it is self-directed, economical, and easy to implement and scale in a variety of clinical settings. While most diet plans are focused on dropping pounds-- the recommended weight loss is 2 to 3 pounds per week -- this study suggests that you don't have to deprive yourself with a drastic program. Depending on personal health risk, weight loss might not be the necessary goal for many people trying to manage their weight.

These data support the evidence that "just don't gain" might be the best advice -- and most realistic goal -- for those who aren't already severely overweight or with a BMI of less than 35. Early intervention with weight maintenance might be the best weight control choice for those at a point of early treatment in an overweight, otherwise healthy, population. 

Yet this study doesn't solve the challenge to every weight-control program: motivation. All study participants were interested and volunteered to participate. In fact, nearly half of the eligible study group were excluded because of lack of interest.  

While the study documents a new strategy for early weight-control intervention, it's still up to individuals to want to take charge of their weight -- and want it enough to stop the "creep."

Read on NBC News

  • Local NewsMore>>

  • Web Exclusive: Texas is among hottest job markets

    Web Exclusive: Texas is among hottest job markets

    Monday, September 15 2014 9:42 AM EDT2014-09-15 13:42:30 GMT
    The city you live in could play a major factor in landing that dream gig if you're on the job hunt.  A new survey is suggesting parts of the country expect an increase in the labor force.More >>
    The city you live in could play a major factor in landing that dream gig if you're on the job hunt.  A new survey is suggesting parts of the country expect an increase in the labor force.More >>
  • Kilgore Restore Projects Gain Support

    Kilgore Restore Projects Gain Support

    Monday, September 15 2014 12:05 AM EDT2014-09-15 04:05:28 GMT
    KILGORE (KYTX) - This group of men and women gather around this chipped, scratched, and vandalized sign that welcomes people into Dansby Village to discuss plans to fix it. Abandoned stores around this neighborhood show signs of a once thriving community, and this group is hoping to attract businesses back. Their first project is repairing these entry signs. Founder of RESTORE! Kilgore, LaMont Wheat says making the neighborhood look better is the first step to attracting businesses."Our inten...More >>
    KILGORE (KYTX) - This group of men and women gather around this chipped, scratched, and vandalized sign that welcomes people into Dansby Village to discuss plans to fix it. Abandoned stores around this neighborhood show signs of a once thriving community, and this group is hoping to attract businesses back. Their first project is repairing these entry signs. Founder of RESTORE! Kilgore, LaMont Wheat says making the neighborhood look better is the first step to attracting businesses."Our inten...More >>
  • Tyler woman warning others about scam

    Tyler woman warning others about scam

    Monday, September 15 2014 12:19 PM EDT2014-09-15 16:19:12 GMT
    TYLER (KYTX) - An East Texas woman avoids a scam that she says could have cost her thousands of dollars.More >>
    TYLER (KYTX) - An East Texas woman avoids a scam that she says could have cost her thousands of dollars.More >>
Powered by WorldNow

CBS19, MYTX & KCEB
2211 ESE Loop 323
Tyler, TX 75701
Phone (903) 581-2211
Fax (903) 581-5769

Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 WorldNow and KYTX. All Rights Reserved. Users of this site agree to the Terms of Service, Privacy Notice/Your California Privacy Rights, and Ad Choices.