International Journal of Behavioral Medicine

, Volume 21, Issue 5, pp 784–793

Differences in Weight Loss Across Different BMI Classes:A Meta-analysis of the Effects of Interventions with Diet and Exercise

  • Jeroen C. M. Barte
  • Jorien Veldwijk
  • Pedro J. Teixeira
  • Frank M. Sacks
  • Wanda J. E. Bemelmans

DOI: 10.1007/s12529-013-9355-5

Cite this article as:
Barte, J.C.M., Veldwijk, J., Teixeira, P.J. et al. Int.J. Behav. Med. (2014) 21: 784. doi:10.1007/s12529-013-9355-5



Lifestyle interventions are effective for weight loss and are recommended for persons with a body mass index (BMI) of 25–40 kg m−2. However, this group is very heterogeneous, which could influence outcomes from lifestyle interventions.


In this systematic review, differences in 1-year weight change and percentage weight change after lifestyle interventions were investigated for participants varying in initial BMI using meta-analyses.


Twenty-two interventions with healthy Caucasian adults, a mean BMI between 25 and 40 kg m−2, a dietary as well as a physical activity component aiming at weight loss, and at least five contact sessions guided by a professional health care provider were selected from a systematic search in the MEDLINE database. Participants in each intervention were divided into one of the three BMI classes: overweight (BMI of 25–29.99 kg m−2), class-I obesity (BMI of 30–34.99 kg m−2), and class-II obesity (BMI of 35–39.99 kg m−2). Differences in weight change and percentage weight change were analyzed and compared among different BMI classes within the same intervention by calculating standardized mean differences.


Overweight participants lost 1.1 kg less (p < 0.01) than participants with class-I obesity and 1.5 kg less (p < 0.01) than participants with class-II obesity. For percentage weight change, no significant differences were found among the BMI classes.


Average weight change during lifestyle interventions only differs to a small extent among people with BMI between 25 and 40 kg m−2. This implies that these interventions are equally appropriate for these BMI classes.


Baseline BMIInitial BMILifestyle interventionOverweightObesity

Copyright information

© International Society of Behavioral Medicine 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jeroen C. M. Barte
    • 1
    • 6
  • Jorien Veldwijk
    • 1
    • 2
  • Pedro J. Teixeira
    • 3
  • Frank M. Sacks
    • 4
    • 5
  • Wanda J. E. Bemelmans
    • 1
  1. 1.Centre for Nutrition, Prevention, and Health ServicesNational Institute for Public Health and the EnvironmentBilthoventhe Netherlands
  2. 2.Julius Center for Health Sciences and Primary CareUniversity Medical Center UtrechtUtrechtthe Netherlands
  3. 3.Interdisciplinary Centre for the Study of Human Performance, Faculty of Human KineticsTechnical University of LisbonLisbonPortugal
  4. 4.Department of NutritionHarvard School of Public HealthBostonUSA
  5. 5.Channing Laboratory, Department of Medicine, Brigham & Women’s HospitalHarvard Medical SchoolBostonUSA
  6. 6.Behavioural Science InstituteRadboud University, NijmegenNijmegenthe Netherlands