Three percent weight reduction is the minimum requirement to improve health hazards in obese and overweight people in Japan

Obes Res Clin Pract. Sep-Oct 2014;8(5):e466-75. doi: 10.1016/j.orcp.2013.10.003. Epub 2013 Nov 5.


Objective: Adequate goal-setting is important in health counselling and treatment for obesity and overweight. We tried to determine the minimum weight reduction required for improvement of obesity-related risk factors and conditions in obese and overweight Japanese people, using a nationwide intervention programme database.

Methods: Japanese men and women (n=3480; mean age±standard deviation [SD], 48.3±5.9 years; mean body mass index±SD, 27.7±2.5kgm(-2)) with "Obesity Disease" or "Metabolic Syndrome" participated in a 6-month lifestyle modification programme (specific health guidance) and underwent follow-up for 6 months thereafter. The relationship between percent weight reduction and changes in 11 parameters of obesity-related diseases were examined.

Results: Significant weight reduction was observed 6 months after the beginning of the programme, and it was maintained for 1 year. Concomitant improvements in parameters for obesity-related diseases were also observed. One-third of the subjects reduced their body weight by ≥3%. In the group exhibiting 1% to <3% weight reduction, plasma triglycerides (TG), low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C), haemoglobin A1c (HbA1c), aspartate aminotransferase (AST), alanine aminotransferase (ALT) and γ-glutamyl transpeptidase (γ-GTP) decreased significantly, and high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C) increased significantly compared to the control group (±1% weight change group). In addition to the improvements of these 7 parameters (out of 11), significant reductions in systolic blood pressure (SBP), diastolic blood pressure (DBP), fasting plasma glucose (FPG) and uric acid (UA) (total 11 of 11 parameters) were observed in the group with 3% to <5% weight reduction. In the group with ≥5% weight reduction, the same 11 parameters also improved as those in the group with 3% to <5% weight reduction.

Conclusion: The 6-month lifestyle modification programme induced significant weight reduction and significant improvement of parameters of obesity-related diseases. All the measured obesity-related parameters were significantly improved in groups with 3% to <5% and ≥5% weight reduction. Based on these findings, the minimum weight reduction required for improvement of obesity-related risk factors or conditions is 3% in obese and overweight (by WHO classification) Japanese people.

Keywords: Goal setting; Health counselling; Japanese; Lifestyle intervention; Obesity; Overweight.

Publication types

  • Controlled Clinical Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Biomarkers / blood
  • Body Mass Index*
  • Female
  • Health*
  • Humans
  • Japan
  • Life Style*
  • Male
  • Metabolic Syndrome / complications
  • Metabolic Syndrome / metabolism
  • Metabolic Syndrome / therapy*
  • Middle Aged
  • Obesity / complications
  • Obesity / metabolism
  • Obesity / therapy*
  • Outcome Assessment, Health Care
  • Overweight
  • Risk Factors
  • Weight Loss*
  • Weight Reduction Programs*


  • Biomarkers