Greater Attendance at a Community Weight Loss Programme over the First 12 Weeks Predicts Weight Loss at 2 Years.
Piernas C., MacLean F., Aveyard P., Ahern AL., Woolston J., Boyland EJ., Halford JCG., Jebb SA.
BACKGROUND: There is considerable heterogeneity in long-term weight loss among people referred to obesity treatment programmes. It is unclear whether attendance at face-to-face sessions in the early weeks of the programme is an independent predictor of long-term success. OBJECTIVE: To investigate whether frequency of attendance at a community weight loss programme over the first 12 weeks is associated with long-term weight change. METHODS: Participants were randomised to receive brief support only (control, n = 211), or a weight loss programme for 12 weeks (n = 530) or 52 weeks (n = 528). This study included participants with data on session attendance over the first 12 weeks (n = 889) compared to the control group. The association between attendance (continuously) and weight loss was explored using a linear model. A multi-level mixed-effects linear model was used to investigate whether attendance (categorised as 0, 1, 2-5, 6-9, and 10-12 sessions) was associated with weight loss at 3, 12, and 24 months compared to the control. RESULTS: For every session attended in the first 12 weeks, the average weight loss was -0.259 kg/session at 24 months (p = 0.005). Analysis by attendance group found only those attending 10-12 sessions had significantly greater weight loss (-7.5 kg [95% CI -8.1 to -6.9] at 12 months; -4.7 kg [95% CI -5.3 to -4.1] at 24 months) compared to the control group (-3.4 [95% CI -4.5 to -2.4] at 12 months, -2.5 [95% CI -3.5 to -1.5] at 24 months). Early attendance was higher for people ≥70 years, but there was no evidence of a difference by gender, ethnicity, education, or income. CONCLUSIONS: Greater attendance at a community weight loss programme in the first 12 weeks is associated with enhanced weight loss up to 24 months. Regular attendance at a programme could be used as a criterion for continued provision of weight loss services to maximise the cost-effectiveness of interventions.