Recovery from relapse among successful weight maintainers

Academic Article


  • Background: Little is known about the natural history of weight change among persons who are successful at losing weight. Objective: This study evaluated the occurrence of weight regain and recovery among 2400 persons in the National Weight Control Registry (NWCR) who had lost an average (± SD) of 32.1 ± 17.8 kg and had kept it off for 6.5 ± 8.1 y. Design: Participants were evaluated prospectively over 2 y. Results: The mean reported weight change from entry into the NWCR to 2 y later was 3.8 ± 7.6 kg. At year 2, 96.4% of the sample remained ≥ 10% below their maximum lifetime weight. However, small regains were common, and few persons were able to re-lose weight after any weight regain. Of the participants who gained any weight between baseline and year 1 (n = 1483; 65.7%), only 11.0% returned to their baseline weight or below at year 2. Of the participants who relapsed, which was defined as a weight regain of > 5% at year 1 (n = 575, or 25.5% of the sample), only 4.7% returned to their baseline weight or below at year 2, and only 12.9% re-lost at least half of their year 1 gain by year 2. Logistic regression showed that recovery was related to gaining less at year 1 and to smaller increases in depressive symptoms between baseline and year 1. Conclusion: Although successful weight losers continued to maintain a large percentage of their weight losses over 2 y, recovery from even minor weight regain was uncommon.
  • Authors

    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Phelan S; Hill JO; Lang W; Dibello JR; Wing RR
  • Start Page

  • 1079
  • End Page

  • 1084
  • Volume

  • 78
  • Issue

  • 6