Predictors of attrition and weight loss success: Results from a randomized controlled trial

Drexel University, United States
Behaviour Research and Therapy (Impact Factor: 3.85). 08/2009; 47(8):685-691. DOI: 10.1016/j.brat.2009.05.004


Attrition is a common problem in weight loss trials. The present analysis examined several baseline and early-treatment process variables, as predictors of attrition and outcome in a clinical trial that combined pharmacotherapy and behavior therapy for weight loss. Participants were 224 obese adults who were treated with sibutramine alone, lifestyle modification alone, combined therapy, or sibutramine plus brief lifestyle modification. Predictors included baseline characteristics (e.g., demographic, weight-related, psychological, and consumption-related variables), plus attendance, adherence, and weight loss in the early weeks of treatment. Outcomes were attrition and weight loss success (i.e., ≥5% reduction in body weight) at 1 year. Multivariable models, adjusting for other relevant variables, found that younger age and greater baseline depressive symptoms were related to increased odds of attrition (ps ≤ 0.003). Greater early weight loss marginally reduced the odds of attrition (p = 0.06). Predictors of weight loss success at 1 year were Caucasian ethnicity (p = 0.04), lower baseline depressive symptoms (p = 0.04), and weight loss during the first 3 weeks of treatment (p < 0.001). Thus, depressive symptoms at baseline were a significant predictor of both attrition and weight loss success. As a process variable, early weight loss appears to have more predictive value than early attendance at treatment sessions or early adherence.

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    • "Programs that promoted autonomous motivation [21] or used incentives [4] were found to increase retention, whereas high (or unrealistic) baseline weight loss expectations were found to increase attrition [2,22]. Fabricatore and colleagues (2009) reported that younger age and baseline depressive symptoms are significantly associated with increased attrition from randomized clinical trials [23]. "
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    ABSTRACT: High attrition is a common problem for weight loss programs and directly affects program effectiveness. Since 2006, the Veterans Health Administration (VHA) has offered obesity treatment to its beneficiaries through the MOVE! Weight Management Program for Veterans (MOVE!). An early evaluation of this program showed that attrition rate was high. The present study examines how individual, facility, and program factors relate to retention for participants in the on-site MOVE! group program. Data for all visits to MOVE! group treatment sessions were extracted from the VHA outpatient database. Participants were classified into three groups by their frequency of visits to the group program during a six month period after enrollment: early dropouts (1 - 3 visits), late dropouts (4 - 5 visits), and completers (6 or more visits). A generalized ordered logit model was used to examine individual, facility, and program factors associated with retention. More than 60% of participants were early dropouts and 11% were late dropouts. Factors associated with retention were older age, presence of one or more comorbidities, higher body mass index at baseline, lack of co-payment requirement, geographic proximity to VA facility, addition of individual consultation to group treatment, greater program staffing, and regular, on-site physical activity programming. A non-completion rate of 74% for on-site group obesity treatment poses a major challenge to reducing the population prevalence of obesity within the VHA. Greater attention to individualized consultation, accessibility to the program, and facility factors including staffing and physical activity resources may improve retention.
    BMC Public Health 04/2014; 14(1):363. DOI:10.1186/1471-2458-14-363 · 2.26 Impact Factor
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    • "Emerging evidence suggests that psychological distress (including depression, anxiety, and low self-esteem) [4,7,9,12,16-19] and the failure to achieve reasonable weight loss goals during the first weeks of treatment [4-6,9,12,13,15] are important predictors of drop-out. Previous studies have also reported high rates of psychopathology both in obese [20-22] and normal-weight persons [23] wishing to lose weight. "
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    ABSTRACT: Attrition is an important but understudied issue that plays a vital role in the successful treatment of obesity. To date, most studies focusing on attrition rates and/or its predictors have been based on pretreatment data routinely collected for other purposes. Our study specifically aims at identifying the predictors of drop-out focusing on empirically or theoretically-based factors. We conducted a retrospective observational study in an academic outpatient clinical nutrition service in Pavia, Italy. We examined a total of 98 adult obese patients (36 males, 62 females) who underwent a 6-month dietary behavioral weight-loss treatment at our Center. Pre-treatment and treatment-related variables were collected or calculated from clinical charts in order to discriminate those subjects who completed treatment from those who abandoned it before its completion. Multivariable regression analysis was used to identify the independent predictors of drop-out. The drop-out rates were 21% at 1 month and 57% at 6 months. Compared with completers, noncompleters were significantly younger in terms of age at first dieting attempt (24.0 ± 10.7 vs. 31.3 ± 11.2 years, P = 0.005), had lower diastolic blood pressure (87.8 ± 9.7 vs. 92.7 ± 11.4 mmHg, P = 0.022), had a lower baseline body fat percentage (38.5 ± 6.4 vs. 41.2 ± 4.4% weight, P = 0.015), and had a lower percentage of early weight loss (-1.8 ± 1.8% vs. -3.1 ± 2.1%, P = 0.035). Moreover, noncompleters significantly differed from completers with regard to type of referral (34.1% vs. 53.3% sent by a physician, P = 0.036) and SCL-90 anger-hostility subscale (0.83 ± 0.72 vs. 0.53 ± 0.51, P = 0.022). A multivariable logistic regression analysis including pre-treatment variables showed that body fat percentage (P = 0.030) and SCL-90 anger-hostility subscale (P = 0.021) were independently associated with attrition. In a multivariable model considering both pre-treatment and treatment-related factors, attrition was found to be independently related to the age at first dieting attempt (P = 0.016) and the achievement of early weight loss (P = 0.029). Our data confirm that psychopathological tracts, early dieting attempts, and a poor initial treatment response are key independent predictors of drop-out from obesity treatment.
    Nutrition Journal 02/2014; 13(1):13. DOI:10.1186/1475-2891-13-13 · 2.60 Impact Factor
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    • "Furthermore, our studies confirm that advanced age protects against dropout [3,4]; in fact, in our sample, completers are older than dropouts, even though without any statistical significance. Some authors hypothesized that older patients were conscious of weight-loss health benefits [44]. Interestingly, our study underlines job-status as a key role in pursuing dietary protocol, in contrast with previous findings [2,15], thus suggesting that job restrictions could protect patients from dropping the diet program, just as outside activities could prevent any transgress feeding behaviour. "
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    ABSTRACT: Diet attrition and failure of long term treatment are very frequent in obese patients. This study aimed to identify pre-treatment variables determining dropout and to customise the characteristics of those most likely to abandon the program before treatment, thus making it possible to modify the therapy to increase compliance. A total of 146 outpatients were consecutively enrolled; 73 patients followed a prescriptive diet while 73 followed a novel brief group Cognitive Behavioural Treatment (CBT) in addition to prescriptive diet. The two interventions lasted for six months. Anthropometric, demographic, psychological parameters and feeding behaviour were assessed, the last two with the Italian instrument VCAO Ansisa; than, a semi-structured interview was performed on motivation to lose weight. To identify the baseline dropout risk factors among these parameters, univariate and multivariate logistic models were used. Comparison of the results in the two different treatments showed a higher attrition rate in CBT group, despite no statistically significant difference between the two treatment arms (P = 0.127). Dropout patients did not differ significantly from those who did not dropout with regards to sex, age, Body Mass Index (BMI), history of cycling, education, work and marriage. Regardless of weight loss, the most important factor that determines the dropout appears to be a high level of stress revealed by General Health Questionnaire-28 items (GHQ-28) score within VCAO test. The identification of hindering factors during the assessment is fundamental to reduce the dropout risk. For subjects at risk, it would be useful to dedicate a stress management program before beginning a dietary restriction.
    Nutrition research and practice 02/2014; 8(1):94-102. DOI:10.4162/nrp.2014.8.1.94 · 1.44 Impact Factor
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