Abstract. Lantz H, Peltonen M, Ågren L, Torgerson JS (Sahlgrenska University Hospital, Göteborg, Sweden). A dietary and behavioural programme for the treatment of obesity. A 4-year clinical trial and a long-term posttreatment follow-up. J Intern Med 2003; 254: 272–279.
Objectives. To evaluate weight loss maintenance after 4 years of nonpharmacological, nonsurgical obesity treatment, including a very low calorie diet (VLCD), diet and behavioural support. Furthermore, to assess weight development amongst completers and noncompleters beyond the active 4-year treatment period.
Design. Clinical trial.
Setting. Two Swedish county hospitals.
Subjects. A total of 113 patients were randomized to a 2-year treatment programme with or without an initial VLCD period. The 87 patients who completed the 2-year programme were offered the chance to continue a support programme for another 2 years. A total of 55 patients completed the entire 4-year programme.
Interventions. All the patients took part in a comprehensive support programme, including a hypocaloric diet and behavioural support, either as single treatment (non-VLCD group) or following the VLCD period (VLCD group).
Results. Significant 4-year weight losses were found in both groups, 7.6 ± 12.2 kg (VLCD group) and 6.3 ± 8.5 kg (non-VLCD group), (P < 0.01, n.s. between groups). The completers (n = 55) had maintained a weight loss of 3.3 ± 10.7 kg (P < 0.05) 8 years after randomization. After 6 years, the noncompleters (n = 58) had gained 3.2 ± 9.7 kg compared with baseline (P < 0.05). The difference in weight change between completers and non-completers was highly significant (P < 0.01).
Conclusions. Highly significant weight losses can be maintained after a 4-year comprehensive treatment programme, including a hypocaloric diet and behavioural support. An initial VLCD period did not significantly affect the long-term weight loss. The posttreatment long-term weight loss was larger amongst completers than amongst patients who did not complete the treatment.