(HealthDay News) – Nearly two-thirds of obese adults are trying to lose weight, and those that eat less fat, exercise more, and use prescription weight loss medications are more successful at losing weight.

Jacinda M. Nicklas, MD, MPH, of Harvard Medical School in Boston, and colleagues analyzed data from 4,021 obese adult participants in the 2001–2006 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. Obesity was defined as body mass index ≥30kg/m².

The researchers found that 2,523 respondents (63%) reported trying to lose weight in the past year. Of those trying to lose weight, 1,026 (40%) lost ≥5% and 510 (20%) lost ≥10% of body weight. Of those losing ≥5% body weight, successful strategies included eating less fat (odds ratio [OR], 1.41; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.14–1.75), exercising more (OR, 1.29; 95% CI, 1.05–1.6), and using prescription weight loss medications (OR, 1.77; 95% CI, 1.0–3.13). The same strategies were also associated with losing ≥10% body weight (OR, 1.37, 1.36, and 2.05, respectively), as was joining commercial weight loss programs (OR, 1.72; 95% CI, 1.0–2.96). Eating diet products was not significantly linked to reaching 10% body weight loss (OR, 0.48). Liquid diets, nonprescription diet pills, and popular diets were not associated with successful weight loss.

“A substantial proportion of obese US adults who attempted to lose weight reported weight loss, at least in the short term,” the authors conclude.

Full Text