Current Diabetes Reports

, 17:69 | Cite as

Initial Weight Loss Response as an Indicator for Providing Early Rescue Efforts to Improve Long-term Treatment Outcomes

  • Jessica L. Unick
  • Christine A. Pellegrini
  • Kathryn E. Demos
  • Leah Dorfman
Obesity (J McCaffery, Section Editor)
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Topical Collection on Obesity


Purpose of Review

There is a large variability in response to behavioral weight loss (WL) programs. Reducing rates of obesity and diabetes may require more individuals to achieve clinically significant WL post-treatment. Given that WL within the first 1–2 months of a WL program is associated with long-term WL, it may be possible to improve treatment outcomes by identifying and providing additional intervention to those with poor initial success (i.e., “early non-responders”). We review the current literature regarding early non-response to WL programs and discuss how adaptive interventions can be leveraged as a strategy to “rescue” early non-responders.

Recent Findings

Preliminary findings suggest that adaptive interventions, specifically stepped care approaches, offer promise for improving outcomes among early non-responders.


Future studies need to determine the optimal time point and threshold for intervening and the type of early intervention to employ. Clinicians and researchers should consider the discussed factors when making treatment decisions.


Behavioral weight loss Stepped care Adaptive intervention Non-responder Lifestyle intervention 



Dr. Unick is supported by the National Institutes of Health grant K01DK100498.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

Jessica L. Unick, Christine A. Pellegrini, Kathryn E. Demos, and Leah Dorfman declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Human and Animal Rights and Informed Consent

All reports studies/experiments with human or animal subjects performed by the authors have been previously published and complied with all applicable ethical standards (including the Helsinki declaration and its amendments, institutional/national research committee standards, and international/national/institutional guidelines).


Papers of particular interest, published recently, have been highlighted as: • Of importance •• Of major importance

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jessica L. Unick
    • 1
  • Christine A. Pellegrini
    • 2
  • Kathryn E. Demos
    • 1
  • Leah Dorfman
    • 1
  1. 1.The Miriam Hospital’s Weight Control and Diabetes Research CenterWarren Alpert Medical School at Brown UniversityProvidenceUSA
  2. 2.Technology Center to Promote Healthy Lifestyles, Department of Exercise Science, Arnold School of Public HealthUniversity of South CarolinaColumbiaUSA

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