weight loss

A UF study found people who lose weight are likely to regain weight faster than previously thought.

The study published in December led by Dr. Kathryn Ross, a UF College of Public Health and Health Professions assistant professor, followed 75 participants, who had lost weight for 12 weeks, over the course of nine months after an initial weight loss period.

They found a majority of participants regained the weight they initially lost, in contrast to the former belief that people were able to maintain weight loss for a period of time, Ross said.

Participants reported data using digital scales that would automatically send data to the researchers, Ross said. Researchers then looked at the data to figure out when people’s weight began to switch from maintenance to regain.

Initially, researchers believed they would find three stages in a person’s weight: loss, maintenance and regain, Ross said. But in reality, participants did not experience a maintenance stage.

According to Ross, the study found those who were older, female and married had a slower rate of weight regain.

Next, researchers will study what people do before they begin to regain weight and why they do it, Ross said.

“This supports an emerging model of obesity treatment that weight management really needs to be seen as more of a continual care model or chronic disease model,” Ross said.