The impact of a weight reduction program with and without meal-replacement on health related quality of life in middle-aged obese females

BMC Womens Health. 2014 Mar 12;14(1):45. doi: 10.1186/1472-6874-14-45.


Background: In addition to an increased risk for chronic illnesses, obese individuals suffer from social stigmatization and discrimination, and severely obese people may experience greater risk of impaired psychosocial and physical functioning. Lower health-related quality of life (HRQOL) has been reported among obese persons seeking intensive treatment for their disease. To aid in the treatment of obesity, meal replacements have been recommended as an effective therapeutic strategy for weight loss, particularly when consumed in the beginning of an intervention. Hence, the objective of this study was to assess the impact of two 12-month weight reduction interventions (one arm including a meal replacement) on changes in HRQOL among obese females.

Methods: This controlled trial compared two versions of a standardized 12-month weight reduction intervention: the weight-reduction lifestyle program without a meal replacement (LS) versus the same lifestyle program with the addition of a soy-based meal replacement product (LSMR). 380 women (LS: n = 190, LSMR: n = 190) were matched by age, gender, and weight (51.4 ± 7.0 yrs., 35.5 ± 3.03 kg/m2). This sample of women all completed the 12-month lifestyle intervention that was part of a larger study. The lifestyle intervention included instruction on exercise/sport, psychology, nutrition, and medicine in 18 theoretical and 40 practical units. Led by a sport physiologist, participants engaged in group-based exercise sessions once or twice a week. To evaluate HRQOL, all participants completed the SF-36 questionnaire pre- and post-intervention. Anthropometric, clinical, physical performance (ergometric stress tests), and self-reported leisure time physical activity (hours/day) data were collected.

Results: The LSMR sample showed lower baseline HRQOL scores compared to the LS sample in six of eight HRQOL dimensions, most significant in vitality and health perception (p < 0.01). After the intervention, body weight was reduced in both lifestyle intervention groups (LS: -6.6±6.6 vs. LSMR -7.6±7.9 kg), however, weight loss and HRQOL improvements were more pronounced in the LSMR sample (LSMR: seven of eight, LS: four of eight dimensions).

Conclusions: Our results show that HRQOL may improve among middle-aged obese females during a standardized lifestyle weight reduction program and may be enhanced by consuming a soy-based meal replacement product.

Trial registration: NCT00356785.

Publication types

  • Controlled Clinical Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Diet
  • Exercise
  • Female
  • Glycine max*
  • Health Status
  • Humans
  • Meals*
  • Middle Aged
  • Obesity / therapy*
  • Patient Education as Topic
  • Quality of Life*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Weight Loss
  • Weight Reduction Programs / methods*

Associated data