• Initial weight loss;
  • long-term weight loss;
  • maintenance;
  • weight maintenance


Lifestyle interventions can reduce body weight, but weight regain is common and may particularly occur with higher initial weight loss. If so, one may argue whether the 10% weight loss in clinical guidelines is preferable above a lower weight loss. This systematic review explores the relation between weight loss during an intervention and weight maintenance after at least 1 year of unsupervised follow-up. Twenty-two interventions (during at least 1 month) in healthy overweight Caucasians were selected and the mean percentages of weight loss and maintenance were calculated in a standardized way. In addition, within four intervention groups (n > 80) maintenance was calculated stratified by initial weight loss (0–5%, 5–10%, >10%). Overall, mean percentage maintenance was 54%. Weight loss during the intervention was not significantly associated with percentage maintenance (r = −0.26; P = 0.13). Percentage maintenance also not differed significantly between interventions with a weight loss of 5–10% vs. >10%. Consequently, net weight loss after follow-up differed between these categories (3.7 vs. 7.0%, respectively; P < 0.01). The analyses within the four interventions confirmed these findings. In conclusion, percentage maintenance does not clearly depend on initial weight loss. From this perspective, 10% or more weight loss can indeed be encouraged and favoured above lower weight loss goals.