Predictors of attrition and weight loss success: Results from a randomized controlled trial
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.
Available from: Piergiuseppe Vinai
- "Weight change was also computed in two ways, i.e., 1) absolute change in weight between baseline and 6 months and 2) percent change from baseline weight. Weight loss success was defined as a reduction of ≥ 5% from initial weight at 6 months (Fabricatore et al. 2009). "
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The aim of this nested case-control study was to compare the effectiveness of cognitive-behavioral treatment (CBT) for treatment-resistant obese (body mass index [BMI] ≥30 kg/m2) women compared with standard dietary treatment. The main outcome measures were attrition and weight loss success.
We designed a 6-month case-control study, nested within a cohort of adult (age ≥18 years) treatment-resistant (history of at least two previous diet attempts) obese women. Cases were 20 women who were offered CBT sessions. Controls (n=39) were randomly selected from the source population and matched to cases in terms of baseline age, BMI, and number of previous diet attempts.
Compared with controls, cases were significantly more likely to complete the 6-month program in both age-adjusted (odds ratio [OR]=2.94, 95% confidence interval [CI]=1.05-8.97) and multivariate-adjusted (OR=2.77, 95% CI=1.02-8.34) analyses. In contrast, cases were not more likely to achieve weight loss success in age-adjusted (OR=1.32, 95% CI=0.86-1.67) and multivariate-adjusted (OR=1.21, 95% CI=0.91-1.44) analyses.
Compared with a standard dietary treatment, CBT was significantly more effective in reducing attrition in treatment-resistant obese women, without differences in terms of weight loss success.
Available from: Sara Locatelli
- "Programs that promoted autonomous motivation  or used incentives  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 . "
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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.
Available from: Ottavia Colombo
- "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  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.
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