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NIH MedlinePlus the Magazine, Trusted Health Information from the National Institutes of Health


Keep Weight Off

A man exercising

Photo: Thinkstock LLC

By Shana Potash, Staff Writer, NLM

Anyone who has struggled with losing weight knows that's just part of the battle—keeping it off is another challenge. The study, funded by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, suggests that monthly personal counseling may help maintain weight loss. A web-based support system may help too, but was less beneficial after about two years. A research team led by Duke University Medical Center studied more than 1,000 overweight and obese people. Participants were randomly assigned to one of three groups, after an initial six-month weight loss intervention. One group had monthly personal coaching, usually through a brief phone call but sometimes face-to-face. Another group got similar information, but through an interactive Web site. The third group was basically left on their own. Personal counseling proved to be the most useful by the end of the 2 ½-year study.

Researchers say overall the effects of the counseling and support were modest, and most people in the study did regain some weight. But they note that even modest weight loss can have health benefits.

For more information, visit and type "weight control" in the search box.

Fall 2008 Issue: Volume 3 Number 4 Page 28