A large-scale study involving over 278,000 participants has revealed that losing weight is nearly impossible for obese or severely obese people. According to its results, only 1 in every 124 obese women and 1 in every 210 obese men are able to attain a healthy body weight.
Researchers from King’s College London led by Dr. Alison Fildes concluded that once an adult has become obese, it is highly unlikely that they will ever return to a healthy body weight. They fear that current dieting approaches may be misguided and unable to deal with this pressing issue.
According to WHO statistics, by 2030, over 74 percent of male and 64 percent of female adults in the UK will be clinically overweight or obese. And since the dieting habits of British adults don’t differ greatly from those of US adults, American’s will most likely respect the same pattern. Scientists warn that the situation is grave and warrants a change in attitude.
Fildes and her team tracked the weight of approximately 278,000 British adults over a period of nine years and published their results in the American Journal of Public Health. Their results show that:
- Obese adults fail at reaching a normal body weight
- Only 53 percent of obese women and 49 percent of obese men managed weight reductions of at least 5 percent
- Even when they did, more than one third experienced weight cycling and eventually regained the pounds (within the following two years)
- Overall, obese men had a 0.47% chance of attaining a healthy BMI, while women had a 0.8% chance
- Severe obesity further worsened their likelihood: a BMI higher than 40 was correlated with a 0.08 percent chance of regaining a healthy weight among men and 0.15 percent in women
It’s clear, study authors explain, that our current public health strategies are failing miserably. Sadly, similar research reflect Fildes and her team’s results. Other studies have shown that overweight teenagers aren’t even aware of being overweight. If so, how can health professionals seek out the people they are attempting to help if the very people public health campaigns are targeted at aren’t even aware that they have a problem?
The emphasis should be put on preventing weight gain in the first place, study authors explain, and public health strategies should begin to be altered to reflect the recent conclusions of studies just like this one.
Photo credits: NewKidsCenter