Objective: Observational study designed to determine weight outcomes and associated dietary intake patterns for a sample of participants > or =1 year after completing the University of Alabama at Birmingham EatRight Weight Management Program.
Research methods and procedures: Seventy-four former participants (64% women) completed follow-up visits > or =1 year after participating in EatRight, which promotes low-energy density, high-complex carbohydrate foods. Weight maintenance was defined as gaining <5% of body weight since completion of the EatRight program and staying below their program entry weight. Those who gained > or =5% of their body weight since completion were classified as gainers.
Results: During EatRight, participants of the follow-up study lost an average of 4.0 kg. After a mean follow-up time of 2.2 years, the average weight change was +0.59 kg (mean BMI, 32.5 kg/m(2)). Seventy-eight percent of participants gained <5% of their body weight; 46% had no weight regain or continued weight loss. Unadjusted mean intake for maintainers was 1608 kcal, whereas calorie intake for gainers was 1989 kcal. Despite eating slightly fewer calories (adjusted difference, 244; p = 0.058), maintainers ate a similar amount of food, resulting in a lower energy-density pattern (p = 0.016) compared with those who regained > or =5% of body weight. Gainers also reported consuming larger portions of several food groups.
Discussion: Our results indicate that low-energy-density eating habits are associated with long-term weight maintenance. Those who maintain weight after the EatRight program consume a low-energy-density dietary pattern and smaller portions of food groups potentially high in energy density than those who regain weight.