Aim: Weight loss achieved during weight reduction programme is difficult to maintain. We investigated the possible role of circulating leptin in failure or success in maintaining weight loss.
Methods: Serum leptin levels were measured in 30 healthy premenopausal obese women before and after 12 weeks of dietary intervention and after 5 months of follow-up.
Results: After intervention body mass index (BMI) decreased from 30.6 to 25.4 kg/m2 (p < 0.01) and leptin levels decreased from 16.7 to 7.7 ng/ml (p < 0.01). After 5 months follow-up 12 women regained reduced weight and 18 women maintained weight loss. In the regainers leptin levels increased again, but remained low in the maintainers. Baseline leptin concentrations were lower in the regainers than in the maintainers (12.1 vs. 21.2 ng/ml, p = 0.04). During intervention leptin levels decreased three times more in the maintainers than in the regainers, although weight loss was similar in both groups.
Conclusions: This study shows that obese women who regain weight after dieting have significantly lower baseline leptin levels than women who maintain weight loss. Our results suggest that differences in leptin resistance might exist in similarly obese women which could influence the success of dieting.