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Quick pep talks help with weight maintenance

2009-05-25 5
   
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résuméNEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Checking in with a nurse every couple of weeks is just as effective for helping people maintain weight loss as an intensive and much more expensive program involving longer sessions with dieticians and exercise trainers, N
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Quick pep talks help with weight maintenance


NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Checking in with a nurse every couple of weeks is just as effective for helping people maintain weight loss as an intensive and much more expensive program involving longer sessions with dieticians and exercise trainers, New Zealand researchers report.

Dr. Jim Mann of the Edgar National Center for Diabetes Research in Dunedin and colleagues randomly assigned 200 women who had lost at least 5% of their body weight to the nurse-led support group or an intensive-support program.

Women in the nurse support group weighed in with the nurse every two weeks and talked with her about their diet and physical activity, with sessions lasting from five to 10 minutes. In the weeks between weigh-ins, the same nurse would check in with the study participant by phone. These study participants also were offered monthly support groups.

The intensive program included 11 individualized 35-minute meetings with a nutritionist and exercise trainer, as well as two training sessions at a private gym.

Ninety-three percent of the study participants in the intensive group attended all the sessions in the first year, while 87% did the second year. The training sessions were much less popular, with only 47% attending them regularly in the first year of the study and 28% doing so in the second year.

In the nurse group, 89% went to every weigh in during the first year, and 85% did the second year. Only about two-thirds of the women in this group regularly used the phone call option, and less than a quarter attended support groups.

After two years of the program, 54% of people in the intensive support group and 84% in the nurse support group said the visits were frequent enough to help them manage their weight, while 70% of those in both groups said they would like to continue receiving support indefinitely. And the average weight loss the women had been able to maintain -- 2 kilograms, or about 4.4 pounds -- was the same in both groups.

"It is encouraging to note that a nurse-supported program to support the maintenance of weight is effective," Mann and his colleagues wrote in the Canadian Medical Association Journal (CMAJ).

"Such a program can be implemented at a fraction of the cost of an intensive-support program, which many believe is essential for successful long-term maintenance of weight loss."

SOURCE: CMAJ, May 12, 2009.

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