As obesity rates have never been higher worldwide, there are increasing concerns regarding the possibility to help people who suffer from it to get healthier.
However, a team of British researchers from King’s College, London, reached the conclusion that the chances for that to occur are very slim.
The researchers monitored the weight of 279,000 people, both men and women over 10 years, from 2004 to 2014. In order to do that, they used UK health records.
Their findings were quite surprising and disappointing for obese people who are hoping to have, if not the ideal weight, at least a healthy figure.
Out of all the patients monitored, only 1,283 and 2,245 women managed to attain a healthy weight.
It seems that only 0.47 percent of the men and 0.8 percent of the women who were obese (body mass index between 30 and 35) managed to get to a normal body weight. The patients who suffered from severe obesity (BMI higher than 40) had even smaller chances. Only one in 1,290 men and one out of 677 women managed to have a healthy body weight after a while.
Even a loss of 5 to 10 percent of the initial body weight is a difficult target for these patients. The researchers found that one in 12 men and one in 10 women managed to lose that amount of weight.
Even those who succeeded in losing at least 5 percent of their weight had the tendency to put it back on within the following two years. Thus, 53 percent would gain the same amount of weight in the next two years and 78 percent would do it in the next five years. Weigh fluctuation was recorded with about 33 percent of the patients.
This also means that the programs available right now for obese people are not very effective, as the long term results are not sustained. Even if some of them combine dieting and exercise programs and might help the patient lose weight in the beginning, they have a huge tendency to fail in the long run.
“Once an adult becomes obese, it is very unlikely that they will return to a healthy body weight,” concluded Dr. Alison Fildes, a lead researcher from the Division of Health and Social Care Research from King’s College.
She also concluded that treatments for these patients should not only be focused on losing weight but mostly on preventing weight gain after certain results have been achieved.
The results of the study were published in the American Journal of Public Health.
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