While the latest study is a rude shock for all those who are trying to drop the pounds, we say, why get disheartened when you can strive to beat the odds? New research suggests that the chance of an obese person attaining normal body weight is one in 210 for men, and one in 124 for women, increasing to one in 1,290 for men and one in 677 for women with severe obesity (BMI over 40).
“Once an adult becomes obese, it is very unlikely that they will return to a healthy body weight,” said the study’s first author Alison Fildes from the University College London. The findings suggest that the current weight management programs which focus on dieting and exercise are not effective in tackling obesity at population level.
The research tracked the weight of 278,982 participants (129,194 men and 149,788) women using electronic health records from 2004 to 2014. The study, published in the American Journal of Public Health, looked at the probability of obese patients attaining normal weight or a five percent reduction in body weight. Patients who received bariatric surgery were excluded from the study.
The annual chance of obese patients achieving five percent weight loss was one in 12 for men and one in 10 for women. For those people who achieved five percent weight loss, 53 percent regained this weight within two years, and 78 percent had regained the weight within five years.
Overall, only 1,283 men and 2,245 women with a body mass index (BMI) of 30-35 reached their normal body weight. Weight cycling, with both increases and decreases in body weight, was also observed in more than a third of patients. “This evidence suggests the current system is not working for the vast majority of obese patients,” Fildes said.
While these findings are disheartening, the clincher is to control food habits and equip yourself with tools to stop being a yo-yo dieter. Also, if you look at exercise as a lifestyle, and not just a means to shed the pounds, the health benefits outweigh the weight loss benefits and can improve your quality of life significantly.