A commonly held (although controversial) belief is """"""""once an alcoholic, always an alcoholic"""""""". However, in the area of weight control, people appear to have the opposite impression - that successfully reduced obese individuals should be able to maintain their weight loss """"""""by eating and exercising like normal [weight] individuals"""""""". The proposed research will determine whether successfully reduced obese individuals are able to maintain a normal body weight using behaviors similar to normal weight individuals or whether the reduced obese must work harder to maintain their body weight. This comparison is of interest since both groups have apparently managed to control their body weight despite living in an obesogenic environment. The proposed study compares successful long-term weight loss maintainers (n=200), defined as individuals who have reduced from overweight/obese to normal weight and maintained the weight loss for a minimum of 5 years, with normal weight controls (n=200) with no history of obesity. The groups will be compared on their eating and exercise behaviors using tritrac accelerometers and 24-hour recalls to provide a more detailed assessment than used in previous studies of successful weight loss maintainers. We will then compare the two groups on the extent to which they have modified their environment to support these behaviors, their preferences for these behaviors, their motivation for maintaining these behaviors, and their quality of life. Findings from this study will have important implications for understanding whether successful weight loss maintainers can at some point regulate their weight in ways similar to normal weight controls or whether they must always work harder to accomplish this. Such information is important for providing an accurate picture to those individuals seeking to lose weight of what it takes to be a successful weight loss maintainer.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK)
Research Project (R01)
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Special Emphasis Panel (ZRG1)
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Kuczmarski, Robert J
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Miriam Hospital
United States
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