Friday, March 07, 2008

Why Some People Can Keep the Weight Off

by Jonny Bowden, PhD, CNS

Anyone who's ever lost weight knows that the biggest challenge is often keeping it off once you've lost it! Much research has been devoted to identifying the habits of successful people in the weight loss game. A new study from the Centers for Disease Control1 adds to this literature. It turns out that following a few very simple rules vastly increases your chance of keeping weight off once you've lost it.

Researchers examined data from a mailed survey of US adults aged 18 or older and analyzed data on:

* The number of daily fruit and vegetable servings

* Minutes per week of physical activity

* Dining out behavior

* Confidence in one's own ability to successfully follow healthy behavioral strategies.

Here's what they found:

Eating at fast-food restaurants -- even as little as two times per week --was associated with significantly less success in weight maintenance. And adults who consumed five or more servings of fruits and vegetables a week and racked up 150 minutes a week of activity were more successful at keeping weight off than sedentary folks who ate less than 5 servings of vegetables and fruits.

Here's the take-home point. The combined approach of staying out of fast-food restaurants, consuming five or more fruit and vegetable servings per day, and attaining 150 minutes (or more) of some kind of physical activity per week was a common successful strategy among those keeping weight off.

That's a strategy that's doable, health supporting, and obviously -- eminently successful.


Prev. Chronic Dis. 2008 Jan;5(1):A11. Epub 2007 Dec 15.

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