Long-term follow-up of behavioral treatment for obesity: patterns of weight regain among men and women

Int J Obes. 1989;13(2):123-36.


Maintenance of weight loss continues to be a critical concern in behavioral treatment programs. Problems with the acquisition and/or application of behavioral skills are a likely contributor to relapse. However, biological models, especially the hypothesis of a body weight setpoint, are being offered increasingly as alternative explanations for maintenance failure. Within the context of these sometimes opposing viewpoints the present study describes long-term weight outcomes for 114 men and 38 women assessed annually for 4 or 5 years following completion of a 15 week behavioral weight loss program. Although significant mean weight loss was evident at long-term follow-up, a negatively accelerating pattern of weight regain was the predominant outcome. Less than 3 percent of the subjects were at or below their posttreatment weight on all follow-up visits. Consistent sex differences were found, with women having better weight loss maintenance than men. Implications and potential future directions are discussed.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Behavior Therapy*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Obesity / therapy*
  • Sex Factors
  • Weight Gain*
  • Weight Loss