Losing weight is difficult and at the same time maintaining the new healthy weight, which is associated with lower blood pressure, blood sugar, improved sleep, over years is even harder. The results demonstrate that long-term participation in weight-loss programme could be effective in sustaining weight loss and ward off obesity.
"Maintaining long-term weight loss is a critical challenge in treating obesity and other health problems such as diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease," said lead author Nia Mitchell from University of Colorado in the US.
The team followed over 65,000 overweight or obese people who joined a national programme called 'Take Off Pounds Sensibly' (TOPS), from 2005 to 2010. The findings revealed that half of the participants showed significant weight loss in the first year. Out of those who participated in the second year, 80 percent kept off the weight.
During years three to seven, nearly 90 percent of participants who continued the programme maintained their weight loss steadily. Consistent participation in the weight loss programme for one year helped the participants to sustain their new healthy weight, the researchers noted.
"Just losing the weight isn't enough. Since the health benefits of weight loss disappear when weight creeps back on, we need more research into effective strategies for maintaining a healthier weight once it is reached," Mitchell added.
The findings were presented at the recently held Society of General Internal Medicine 2016 Annual Meeting in Florida.