Weight Loss Expectations and Attrition in Treatment-Seeking Obese Women

Obesity factsObes Facts. 2015 Oct 8;8(5):311-318.
OBJECTIVE:The analysis of the relation between weight loss goals and attrition in the treatment of obesity has produced conflicting results. The aim of the present study was to investigate the role of weight loss goals on attrition in a cohort of obese women seeking treatment at 8 Italian medical centres.METHODS:634 women with obesity, consecutively enrolled in weight loss programmes, were included in the study. Weight loss goals were evaluated with the Goals and Relative Weights Questionnaire (GRWQ), reporting a sequence of unrealistic (‘dream’ and ‘happy’) and more realistic (‘acceptable’ and ‘disappointing’) weight loss goals. Attrition was assessed at 12 months on the basis of patients’ medical records.RESULTS:At 12 months, 205/634 patients (32.3%) had interrupted their programme and were lost to follow-up. After adjustment for age, baseline weight, education and employment status, attrition was significantly associated with higher percent acceptable and disappointing weight loss targets, not with dream and happy weight loss.CONCLUSION:In ‘real world’ clinical settings, only realistic expectations might favour attrition whenever too challenging, whereas unrealistic weight loss goals have no effect. Future studies should assess the effect of interventions aimed at coping with too challenging weight goals on attrition.