Lonely and prolonged struggle for people with severe obesity

June 20, 2018, University of Gothenburg
Lonely and prolonged struggle for people with severe obesity
Credit: University of Gothenburg

The majority of people with severe obesity have a lonely and prolonged struggle with their weight. In one study spanning more than 10 years, 83 percent report that they constantly strive to lose weight or prevent weight gain.

"The study shows that people with severe obesity constantly try to reduce or control their weight and do so for a long time. If one believes that this group is not trying to lose weight, these results contradict those views," says Ingrid Larsson, a clinical nutritionist and associate professor at Sahlgrenska Academy, University of Gothenburg, Sweden.

The study, published in the journal Obesity, is based on what is known as the SOS Study (Swedish Obese Subjects). This time, however, the focus was not on the surgical weight loss group. Instead, the spotlight was on the control group – that is, those who have not had surgery for their .

The questions were specifically about weight loss attempts of people in the control group. The results are based on what they have reported at each follow-up occasion during a 10-year period.

A lonely journey

The participants reported on the different methods they have used to lose weight or keep their weight down: commercial weight loss programs, anti-obesity medications, low energy liquid diets, exercise, support from health and medical services, and weight loss on ones own.

"They use a variety of methods, the most common one being an attempt to lose weight on their own, demonstrating that weight loss attempts are a lonely journey for many," says Ingrid Larsson.

None of these methods was better or worse than the others in terms of weight loss. Those who had reduced their weight by more than 10 percent over a 10-year period had used the same methods as those who had gained an equal amount of weight.

Knowledge-based treatment

Consequently, it was not the methods that were decisive, but rather the ability to maintain a lower caloric intake over a period of time. The degree of success varied greatly. Some in the group gained a lot of weight in 10 years; other lost a great deal.

Among carefully screened patients, surgery is a that has proven to be effective for reducing in the long term and lowering the risk of disease. Surgery is not suitable for everyone, however, and according to the researchers, health care should offer a knowledge-based and structured treatment approach.

Explore further: Provider counseling for weight loss up for arthritis, overweight

More information: Edit Zenténius et al. Self-Reported Weight-Loss Methods and Weight Change: Ten-Year Analysis in the Swedish Obese Subjects Study Control Group, Obesity (2018). DOI: 10.1002/oby.22200

Related Stories

Provider counseling for weight loss up for arthritis, overweight

May 7, 2018
(HealthDay)—In 2014, health care provider counseling for weight loss for adults with arthritis and overweight or obesity was 45.5 percent, up 10.4 percent from 2002, according to research published in the May 3 issue of ...

Weight-loss surgery improves lives and saves money

April 19, 2018
A new BJS (British Journal of Surgery) study indicates that weight-loss surgery is cost-effective over 10 years and can save healthcare systems money over a lifetime. Researchers used a decision-analytic model to come to ...

Weight-loss surgery alone won't keep the pounds off

January 30, 2018
(HealthDay)—If you think your battle against obesity ends on the operating table, you're mistaken.

Obesity surgery prevents severe chronic kidney disease and kidney failure

March 23, 2018
Patients that underwent weight-loss surgery ran a significantly lower risk of developing severe chronic kidney disease and kidney failure when compared to conventionally treated patients, according to a study published in ...

Most people cycle and regain weight

April 3, 2016
Most people lose, gain and maintain their weight inconsistently, and those who lose the most weight are most likely to keep it off and keep losing, new research reports. The study results will be presented Friday, April 1, ...

Readjusting calorie consumption as you lose weight

January 12, 2018
(HealthDay)—If you find that your weekly weight loss is slowing down, maybe it's time to readjust your calorie intake.

Recommended for you

Overweight pregnant women can safely cut calories, restrict weight gain

September 24, 2018
Being obese or overweight during pregnancy can result in serious health problems for the mother and child. Obstetricians are often reluctant to recommend restricted weight gain for pregnant women due to safety concerns for ...

Young children's oral bacteria may predict obesity

September 19, 2018
Weight gain trajectories in early childhood are related to the composition of oral bacteria of two-year-old children, suggesting that this understudied aspect of a child's microbiota—the collection of microorganisms, including ...

Rethinking an inflammatory receptor's obesity connection

September 12, 2018
Toll-like receptor 4 (TLR4) is a protein that plays a vital role in the body's immune response by sensing the presence of infection. It has long been thought to also sense particular types of fats, which suggested a mechanism ...

Rising European life expectancy undermined by obesity: WHO

September 12, 2018
Life expectancy in Europe continues to increase but obesity and the growing proportion of people who are overweight risks reversing this trend, the World Health Organization warned Wednesday.

Brief sleep intervention works long-term to prevent child obesity

September 6, 2018
When it comes to obesity prevention, sleep is not usually something that springs to mind, but a University of Otago research team has found we should not underestimate its importance.

Researchers develop more accurate measure of body fat

August 27, 2018
Cedars-Sinai investigators have developed a simpler and more accurate method of estimating body fat than the widely used body mass index, or BMI, with the goal of better understanding obesity.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.