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Researchers urge: 'Maintain, don't gain,' weight

Sept. 29, 2013 at 5:30 PM   |   Comments

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DURHAM, N.C., Sept. 29 (UPI) -- Losing weight is hard, keeping from gaining may not be easy, but at least it's not as hard as losing it, so U.S. researchers suggest "maintain, don't gain."

Gary Bennett, an associate professor of psychology and neuroscience at Duke University in Durham, N.C., and colleagues studied the "maintain, don't gain" approach.

The researchers analyzed data on 97 black women in an intervention group in which each woman was in a program that included personalized goals for diet and physical activity. Each woman received an individualized set of behavior-change goals for diet and physical activity. The researchers tracked how well they were doing each week via automated phone calls, and had a personal health coach and a gym membership.

Bennett and colleagues compared them with another 97 who got weight loss counseling.

"Sixty-two percent of women in our intervention group completed the intervention with weights at or below their starting weight, compared to only 45 percent of women in our usual care group," Bennett said in a statement.

"Many people go to great lengths to lose weight when their doctor recommends it. They may try a series of diets or join a gym or undergo really complex medical regimens. The complexity of these treatments can make it difficult for many to lose a sufficient amount of weight," Bennett said in a statement.

"Our approach was different. We simply asked our patients to maintain their weight. By maintaining their current weight, these patients can reduce their likelihood of experiencing health problems later on in life."

The study was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association's Internal Medicine.

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