Lessons from obesity management programmes: greater initial weight loss improves long-term maintenance

Obes Rev. 2000 May;1(1):17-9. doi: 10.1046/j.1467-789x.2000.00004.x.


It is a common belief that weight loss achieved at a slow rate is better preserved than if the weight is lost more rapidly. However, the literature shows that initial weight loss is positively, not negatively, related to long-term weight maintenance. There is evidence from randomised intervention trials to support that a greater initial weight loss induced without changes in lifestyle (e.g. liquid formula diets or anorectic drugs) improves long-term weight maintenance, providing it is followed by a 1-2 years integrated weight maintenance programme consisting of lifestyle interventions involving dietary change, nutritional education, behaviour therapy and increased physical activity. In conclusion, we find evidence to suggest that a greater initial weight loss as the first step of a weight management programme may result in improved sustained weight maintenance.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Appetite Depressants / therapeutic use
  • Behavior Therapy
  • Diet
  • Exercise
  • Food, Formulated
  • Humans
  • Obesity / therapy*
  • Patient Education as Topic
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Weight Loss*


  • Appetite Depressants