Impact on weight and physical function of intensive medical weight loss in older adults with stage II and III obesity

Obesity (Silver Spring). 2016 Sep;24(9):1861-6. doi: 10.1002/oby.21569. Epub 2016 Jul 19.


Objective: A 6-month pilot trial compared two strategies for weight loss in older adults with body mass indexes (BMIs) ≥35 kg/m(2) to assess weight loss response, safety, and impact on physical function.

Methods: Twenty-eight volunteers were randomized to a balanced deficit diet (BDD) (500 kcal/day below estimated energy needs) or an intensive, low-calorie, meal replacement diet (ILCD, 960 kcal/day). Behavioral interventions and physical activity prescriptions were similar for both groups. Primary outcomes were changes in body weight and adverse event frequency; secondary outcomes included measures of physical function and body composition.

Results: ILCD average weight change was -19.1 ± 2.2 kg or 15.9 ± 4.6% of initial body weight compared with -9.1 ± 2.7 kg or 7.2 ± 1.9% for BDD. ILCD lost more fat mass (-7.7 kg, 95% CI [-11.9 to -3.5]) but had similar loss of lean mass (-1.7 kg, 95% CI [-4.1 to 0.6]) compared with BDD. There were no significant differences in change in physical function or adverse event frequency.

Conclusions: Compared with a traditional BDD intervention, older adults who have severe obesity treated with intensive medical weight loss had greater weight loss and decreases in fat mass without a higher frequency of adverse events. In the short term, however, this did not translate into greater improvements in physical function.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Behavior Therapy
  • Body Composition
  • Body Mass Index
  • Caloric Restriction
  • Diet, Reducing
  • Exercise
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Obesity / complications
  • Obesity / physiopathology*
  • Obesity / therapy*
  • Obesity, Morbid / complications
  • Obesity, Morbid / physiopathology
  • Obesity, Morbid / therapy*
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Weight Loss / physiology*