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Probability of an obese person attaining normal body weight: cohort study using electronic health records

Fildes, Alison, Charlton, Judith, Rudisill, Caroline, Littlejohns, Peter, Prevost, A. Toby and Gulliford, Martin C. (2015) Probability of an obese person attaining normal body weight: cohort study using electronic health records. American Journal of Public Health, 105 (9). e54-e59. ISSN 0090-0036

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Identification Number: 10.2105/AJPH.2015.302773


Objectives: Obesity is an increasing clinical and public health concern. This study aimed to answer the question: ‘What is the probability of an obese person attaining normal body weight?’ Methods: A sample of men and women aged 20 years and over was drawn from the Clinical Practice Research Datalink (CPRD). Participants who received bariatric surgery were excluded. The probability of attaining either normal weight, or 5% reduction in body weight, were estimated. Findings: Data were analysed for 278,982 participants including 76,704 obese men and 99,791 obese women. During a maximum of 9 years’ follow-up, 1,283 men and 2,245 women attained normal body weight. In simple obesity (BMI 30•0-34•9 Kg/m2), the annual probability of attaining normal weight was 1 in 210 for men and 1 in 124 for women, increasing to 1 in 1,290 for men and 1 in 677 for women with morbid obesity (BMI 40•0-44•9 Kg/m2). The annual probability of achieving a 5% weight reduction was 1 in 8 for men, and 1 in 7 for women with morbid obesity. Among participants who lost 5% body weight, 52•7% (95% confidence interval 52•4 to 53•0%) showed weight regain at two years and 78•0% (77•7 to 78•3%) at five years. Conclusions: The low probability of attaining normal weight, or maintaining weight loss, raises questions concerning whether current obesity treatment frameworks, grounded in community-based weight management programmes, may be expected to achieve public health impact.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2015 American Public Health Association (APHA)
Divisions: Social Policy
LSE Health
Subjects: R Medicine > RA Public aspects of medicine > RA0421 Public health. Hygiene. Preventive Medicine
Date Deposited: 13 Jul 2015 11:34
Last Modified: 05 Apr 2024 06:48
Projects: 2/5005/12
Funders: Health Services and Delivery Research program, National Health Service (NHS) Foundation Trust, King’s College London

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