Health Before Vanity

Weight loss is one of the cornerstones of treating and preventing type 2 diabetes. A new study, however, suggests patients continue to set weight-loss goals that are unattainable, even when counseled. This, in turn, translates to perceptions of failure.

According to data presented November 1, 2000 at the annual meeting of the North American Association for the Study of Obesity (NAASO) in Long Beach, California, there is now a call to educate patients and physicians on how to redefine weight-loss measured by health, rather than image, benefits.

10 Percent Weight Loss is a Success

“This study underscores patients’ continued desire to lose much more weight than can be achieved by the best behavioral and pharmacological treatments available today,” said Leslie Womble, PhD, lead investigator and instructor in the Department of Psychiatry at University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine in Philadelphia. “It is important for physicians to emphasize and reiterate to patients that a 10 percent weight loss is a treatment success.”

The NAASO was designed to determine whether patients’ weight-loss expectations changed when they were informed about how much they could expect to lose in one year. The 53 women included in the study completed a questionnaire asking them how much weight they expected to lose after four, 12, 26 and 52 weeks of treatment. Women were informed they could expect to lose five to 15 percent of their initial weight during treatment.

The only reduction in weight-loss expectations before and after counseling was seen after 52 weeks with patients predicting that they would lose 25 percent vs. 28 percent of their starting weight.

Setting Realistic Weight-loss Expectations

“There is clear clinical evidence that a modest weight loss of five to 10 percent can improve risk factors for diabetes and heart disease, including high blood pressure, and high cholesterol,” said Arthur Campfield, PhD, vice president of NAASO and department head and professor of Food Science and Human Nutrition at the College of Applied Human Sciences at Colorado State University in Fort Collins, Colorado. “People whose weight puts their health at risk should seek help from their physician to set realistic expectations for weight loss that will reduce their future health risks.”

For more information on the NAASO 2000 Annual Meeting, visit

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Time limit is exhausted. Please reload CAPTCHA.