The definition of weight maintenance

Int J Obes (Lond). 2006 Mar;30(3):391-9. doi: 10.1038/sj.ijo.0803175.


There is currently no consensus on the definition of weight maintenance in adults. Issues to consider in setting a standard definition include expert opinion, precedents set in previous studies, public health and clinical applications, comparability across body sizes, measurement error, normal weight fluctuations and biologic relevance. To be useful, this definition should indicate an amount of change less than is clinically relevant, but more than expected from measurement error or fluctuations in fluid balance under normal conditions. It is an advantage for the definition to be graded by body size and to be easily understood by the public as well as scientists. Taking all these factors into consideration, the authors recommend that long-term weight maintenance in adults be defined as a weight change of <3% of body weight.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Body Mass Index
  • Body Size
  • Body Weight / physiology
  • Humans
  • Public Health
  • Water-Electrolyte Balance / physiology
  • Weight Gain*
  • Weight Loss*