Effectiveness of male-only weight loss and weight loss maintenance interventions: a systematic review with meta-analysis

Obes Rev. 2012 May;13(5):393-408. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-789X.2011.00967.x. Epub 2011 Dec 28.


The objectives of this systematic review were to investigate the effectiveness of male-only weight loss and weight loss maintenance interventions and to identify intervention characteristics associated with effectiveness. In May 2011, a systematic literature search with no date restrictions was conducted across eight databases. Twenty-four articles describing 23 studies met the eligibility criteria. All studies included a weight loss intervention and four studies included an additional weight loss maintenance intervention. Study quality was mostly poor for weight loss studies (median = 3/10, range = 1-9) and weight loss maintenance studies (median = 3.5/10, range = 1-6). Twenty-three of 31 individual weight loss interventions (74%) from the eligible studies were considered effective. Meta-analysis revealed a significant difference in weight change favouring weight loss interventions over no-intervention controls at the last reported assessment (weighted mean difference -5.66 kg [-6.35, -4.97], Z = 16.04 [P < 0.00001]). Characteristics common to effectiveness were younger sample (mean age ≤ 42.8 years), increased frequency of contact (> 2.7 contacts/month), group face-to-face contact and inclusion of a prescribed energy restriction. Preliminary evidence suggests men-only weight loss programmes may effectively engage and assist men with weight loss. However, more high-quality studies are urgently needed to improve the evidence base, particularly for maintenance studies.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Age Factors
  • Diet, Reducing*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Obesity / therapy*
  • Social Support*
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Weight Loss*