Psychological interventions for weight loss maintenance for obese or overweight adults: A systematic review
To review psychological interventions aimed at helping people maintain weight loss.
Methods Search strategy
Multiple electronic databases were searched from 1996 until 2006. Strategies included manually checking reference lists and searching a number of relevant websites. Selection criteria: Trials were included if they: 1) were randomised controlled trials of a psychological maintenance intervention versus a comparison intervention, 2) measured weight change, 3) had a minimum follow-up of 12 months and 4) examined participants who were overweight or obese (BMI > 25 kg/m²) at baseline. Data extraction: 685 abstracts were retrieved. Two people independently applied the selection criteria to the studies and assessed study quality. Quality assessment: The following indicators of methodological quality were: random allocation, blinding, attrition, intention to treat and power.
Six studies were included. Two studies found a positive effect on maintenance of weight loss. Interventions tended to utilise behavioural weight reduction strategies, but some also included group problem-solving and peer support programs. Results suggest a promising approach is therapist led group problem-solving therapy. However it is impossible to draw firm conclusions about the effective components of psychological interventions without further research. Methodological problems include: small sample sizes, insufficient power, short-term follow-ups and heterogeneity of interventions.
There is insufficient research on psychological interventions for weight loss maintenance for definite conclusions to be drawn. Research with larger and more diverse samples is urgently required.