Effects of walking training on weight maintenance after a very-low-energy diet in premenopausal obese women: a randomized controlled trial

M Fogelholm, K Kukkonen-Harjula, A Nenonen, M Pasanen
Archives of Internal Medicine 2000 July 24, 160 (14): 2177-84

BACKGROUND: Maintenance of weight loss is a core problem in the treatment of obesity. Physical activity may improve maintenance and metabolic risk factors associated with obesity.

HYPOTHESES: (1) A walking training program of moderate intensity, started after weight reduction by a very-low-energy diet, improves maintenance of weight loss and obesity-related metabolic disorders; and (2) the effect of the training program is related to the prescribed amount of physical activity, ie, a higher amount (energy expenditure) leads to more favorable results.

METHODS: The participants were premenopausal women with a mean body mass index of 34.0 kg/m(2). Eighty-two participants were randomized to this study; 74 participated in the follow-up assessment. A 12-week weight reduction by mostly a very-low-energy diet was followed by a 40-week maintenance program randomized in 3 groups: a control group with no increase in habitual exercise and with counseling on diet and relapse prevention; a walk-1 group, with a walking program targeted to expend 4.2 MJ/wk and diet counseling; and a walk-2 group, with a walking program of 8. 4 MJ/wk and diet counseling. Random permuted blocks within strata were used, with weight loss (in 3 classes) as the stratifying factor. After the intervention, the subjects were followed up for 2 years.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Primary outcomes were body weight, fat mass, and waist circumference at the 2-year follow-up. Secondary outcomes were the levels of serum lipoproteins and lipids, plasma glucose, insulin, and blood pressure.

RESULTS: The mean weight loss after weight reduction was 13.1 kg. The main outcome variables remained stable during the maintenance program, but increased during the follow-up period. Compared with the end of weight reduction, weight regain at the 2-year follow-up was 3.5 kg less (95% confidence interval, 0.2-6.8) and waist circumference regain 3.8 cm less (95% confidence interval, 0.3-7.3) in the walk-1 group vs controls. The secondary outcomes showed a partial relapse during the maintenance program, and a further regain during the follow-up period.

CONCLUSIONS: Inclusion of a walking program of moderate training regimen into a weight maintenance program improved maintenance of losses in weight and waist circumference.

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