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Psychological Changes following Weight Loss in Overweight and Obese Adults: A Prospective Cohort Study

Jackson, SE; Steptoe, A; Beeken, RJ; Kivimaki, M; Wardle, J; (2014) Psychological Changes following Weight Loss in Overweight and Obese Adults: A Prospective Cohort Study. PLOS ONE , 9 (8) , Article e104552. 10.1371/journal.pone.0104552. Green open access

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Abstract

Background: Participation in weight loss programs is often associated with improved wellbeing alongside reduced cardio-metabolic risk. In contrast, population-based analyses have found no evidence of psychological benefits of weight loss, but this may be due to inclusion of healthy-weight individuals. We therefore examined cardio-metabolic and psychological changes following weight loss in a cohort of overweight/obese adults. Methods: Data were from 1,979 overweight and obese adults (BMI ≥25 kg/m2; age ≥50 y), free of long-standing illness or clinical depression at baseline, from the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing. Participants were grouped according to four-year weight change into those losing ≥5% weight, those gaining ≥5%, and those whose weight was stable within 5%. Logistic regression examined changes in depressed mood (eight-item Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression score ≥4), low wellbeing (Satisfaction With Life Scale score <20), hypertension (systolic blood pressure ≥140 mmHg or anti-hypertensives), and high triglycerides (≥1.7 mmol/l), controlling for demographic variables, weight loss intention, and baseline characteristics. Results: The proportion of participants with depressed mood increased more in the weight loss than weight stable or weight gain groups (+289%, +86%, +62% respectively; odds ratio [OR] for weight loss vs. weight stable = 1.78 [95% CI 1.29–2.47]). The proportion with low wellbeing also increased more in the weight loss group (+31%, +22%, −4%), but the difference was not statistically significant (OR = 1.16 [0.81–1.66]). Hypertension and high triglyceride prevalence decreased in weight losers and increased in weight gainers (−28%, 4%, +18%; OR = 0.61 [0.45–0.83]; −47%, −13%, +5%; OR = 0.41 [0.28–0.60]). All effects persisted in analyses adjusting for illness and life stress during the weight loss period. Conclusions: Weight loss over four years in initially healthy overweight/obese older adults was associated with reduction in cardio-metabolic risk but no psychological benefit, even when changes in health and life stresses were accounted for. These results highlight the need to investigate the emotional consequences of weight loss.

Type: Article
Title: Psychological Changes following Weight Loss in Overweight and Obese Adults: A Prospective Cohort Study
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0104552
Publisher version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0104552
Language: English
Additional information: © 2014 Jackson et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > Institute of Epidemiology and Health
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > Institute of Epidemiology and Health > Behavioural Science and Health
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > Institute of Epidemiology and Health > Epidemiology and Public Health
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1436759
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