, Volume 27, Issue 10, pp 1272-1279
Date: 27 Apr 2012

Descriptive Study of Educated African American Women Successful at Weight-Loss Maintenance Through Lifestyle Changes

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ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND

Interventions to address obesity and weight loss maintenance among African Americans have yielded modest results. There is limited data on African Americans who have achieved successful long-term weight loss maintenance.

OBJECTIVE

To identify a large sample of African American adults who intentionally achieved clinically significant weight loss of 10 %; to describe weight-loss and maintenance efforts of African Americans through a cross-sectional survey; to determine the feasibility of establishing a registry of African American adults who have successfully lost weight.

DESIGN, SETTING, AND PARTICIPANTS

African American volunteers from the United States ≥ 18 years of age were invited to complete a cross-sectional survey about weight, weight-loss, weight-loss maintenance or regain. Participants were invited to submit contact information to be maintained in a secure registry.

MAIN MEASURES

Percentage of participants who achieved long-term weight-loss maintenance reporting various dietary and physical activity strategies, motivations for and social-cognitive influences on weight loss and maintenance, current eating patterns, and self-monitoring practices compared to African Americans who lost weight but regained it. Participants also completed the Short International Physical Activity Questionnaire.

KEY RESULTS

Of 3,414 individuals screened, 1,280 were eligible and completed surveys. Ninety-percent were women. This descriptive analysis includes 1,110 women who lost weight through non-surgical means. Over 90 % of respondents had at least some college education. Twenty-eight percent of respondents were weight-loss maintainers. Maintainers lost an average of 24 % of their body weight and had maintained ≥ 10 % weight loss for an average of 5.1 years. Maintainers were more likely to limit their fat intake, eat breakfast most days of the week, avoid fast food restaurants, engage in moderate to high levels of physical activity, and use a scale to monitor their weight.

CONCLUSIONS

Influences and practices differ among educated African American women who maintain weight loss compared to those who regain it.