Increased Physical Activity Associated with Less Weight Regain Six Years After "The Biggest Loser" Competition

Obesity (Silver Spring). 2017 Nov;25(11):1838-1843. doi: 10.1002/oby.21986.


Objective: The aim of this study was to explore how physical activity (PA) and energy intake (EI) changes were related to weight loss and regain following "The Biggest Loser" competition.

Methods: At baseline, week 6 and week 30 of the competition, and 6 years after the competition, body composition was measured via dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry, resting energy expenditure was measured by using indirect calorimetry, and EI and PA were measured by using doubly labeled water.

Results: Six years after the competition, median weight loss in 14 of "The Biggest Loser" participants was 13%, with those maintaining a greater weight loss (mean ± SE) of 24.9% ± 3.8% having increased PA by 160% ± 23%, compared with a PA increase of 34% ± 25% (P = 0.0033) in the weight regainers who were 1.1% ± 4.0% heavier than the precompetition baseline. EI changes were similar between weight loss maintainers and regainers (-8.7% ± 5.6% vs. -7.4% ± 2.7%, respectively; P = 0.83). Weight regain was inversely associated with absolute changes in PA (r = -0.82; P = 0.0003) but not with changes in EI (r = -0.15; P = 0.61). EI and PA changes explained 93% of the individual weight loss variability at 6 years.

Conclusions: Consistent with previous reports, large and persistent increases in PA may be required for long-term maintenance of lost weight.

Trial registration: NCT02544009.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Body Composition / physiology*
  • Energy Metabolism / physiology*
  • Exercise / physiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Weight Gain / physiology*
  • Weight Loss / physiology*

Associated data