Study: Probability of Obese People Reaching ‘Normal’ Weight Less Than 1%

WASHINGTON — Despite the fact that the diet industry does several billion dollars worth of business in the U.S. alone each year, a new study published in the American Journal of Public Health suggests that most obese people will never achieve a “normal” weight.

The Centers for Disease Control classify a BMI of between 25 and 29.9 as “overweight,” anything above that as obese.

Nine years worth of data for 76,704 obese men and 99,791 obese women from the United Kingdom was analyzed by researchers from King’s College London, who found that the annual probability of reaching a normal weight was less than 1 percent for both groups — just 1 in 210 for obese men and 1 in 124 for obese women (obese = 30.0–34.9 BMI).

For those with morbid obesity (BMI = 40.0–44.9), those odds decreased to 1 in 1,290 for men and 1 in 677 for women.

And, at least 50 percent of patients who managed to achieve a 5 percent weight loss were shown to have regained the weight within two years.

Over the full course of the study, nine years, 1,283 men (about 1.67 percent) and 2,245 women (about 2.25 percent) managed to achieve a normal body weight.

Participants who received bariatric surgery were excluded from the study.

“Our findings indicate that current nonsurgical obesity treatment strategies are failing to achieve sustained weight loss for the majority of obese patients,” the study says.

“…even when treatment is accessed, evidence suggests behavioral weight loss interventions focusing on caloric restriction and increased physical activity are unlikely to yield clinically significant reductions in body weight.”

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