Weight-loss clinic drop-out rates are a huge barrier to treating obesity

August 1, 2012

More than 1.7 billion people worldwide may be classified as overweight and need appropriate medical or surgical treatment with the goal of sustainable weight loss. But for weight management programs to be effective, patients must complete them, states a study published in the Canadian Journal of Surgery (CJS) that analyzed drop-out rates and predictors of attrition within a publicly-funded adult weight management program.

Researchers from the Department of Surgery at the University of Alberta and the Centre for the Advancement of Minimally at the Royal Alexandria Hospital in Edmonton, Alberta, found that over a six-year period almost half (43%) of the of a clinic funded by Alberta Health Services dropped out of the program before achieving sustainable weight loss.

The program involves 6 months of primary care, including education on strategies for treating obesity, nutritional counselling, , physical activity and mental health assessment to identify untreated conditions, such as depression, that may be barriers to effective weight management. Some participants also undergo bariatric surgery.

In a group of patients who are motivated enough to participate in a program like this, a 43% drop-out rate is surprising. "Identifying the factors that predict attrition may serve as a basis for program improvement and further research," the authors state.

Among the patients included in the study, the drop-out rate was 54% in the group treated by only and 12% in the group treated surgically. These drop-out rates are similar to those reported in other studies. "We speculate that patients willing to undergo the initial bariatric surgical procedure may be more committed to complete the program," the authors explain. They suggest that the substantial early weight loss associated with bariatric surgery may serve as additional motivation to continue in the program.

Younger patients and women were also more likely to drop out of the program.

"Further research is needed to clarify why surgical patients have lower attrition rates and how these factors can be applied to proactively decrease the drop-out rates and increase success," the authors state.

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Anne7600
not rated yet Aug 01, 2012
I dont think its because those clients were more committed. I think that maybe weight loss clinics were not the right option for those clients. After all, clinics can be expensive and they require regular meetings in many cases. I wonder how many people lost the weight anyway, on their own? Some people just turn to friends, guided meditation, yoga, hypnosis and other methods to lose weight. Belleruth Naparsteks blog, for example, lists a number of solutions for weight loss and cites studies about which techniques work.
Surthe
not rated yet Aug 01, 2012

This really is by far the most useful diet regime I've ever tried in relation to actual weight coming off. I am now on a mission to shed 18 pounds for a beach holiday. Very first couple of days are a little bit tough to stick to but by day 4 you are going to feel astounding, and by day 11 you will be 10 pounds lighter.

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