• weight loss;
  • risk factors;
  • primary care practice;
  • nutrients;
  • premenopausal women


Objective: To evaluate the effectiveness of meal replacements (MRs) in weight loss interventions in premenopausal women.

Research Methods and Procedures: Overweight premenopausal women (n = 113; body mass index: 25 to 35 kg/m2; 30 to 50 years old) were randomized into three interventions: group A, a dietitian-led intervention; group B, a dietitian-led intervention incorporating MRs; and group C, a clinical office-based intervention incorporating MRs. In year 1, groups A and B attended 26 group sessions, whereas group C received the same educational materials during 26 10-minute office visits with a physician–nurse team. In year 2, participants attended monthly group seminars and drop-in visits with a dietitian.

Results: For the 74 subjects completing year 1, weight loss in the office-based group C was as effective as the traditional dietitian-led group A (4.3 ± 6.5% vs. 4.1 ± 6.4%), while group B maintained a significantly greater weight loss (9.1 ± 8.9%; p < 0.02; mean ± SD). For the 43 subjects completing year 2, group B showed significant differences in the percentage of weight loss (−8.5 ± 7.0%) compared with group A (−1.5 ± 5.0%) and group C (−3.0 ± 7.0%; p < 0.001).

Discussion: Study results showed that a traditional weight loss intervention incorporating MRs was effective as a weight loss tool in the medical office practice and in the dietitian-led group setting.