Sunday, January 20, 2008

The National Weight Control Registry

As an epidemiologist, I work constantly with all sorts of data from surveillance systems, disease-related registries (eg, cancer and trauma), medical records, hospital discharge records, birth records, death records, etc. I actually manage two surveillance systems in Texas.

While I lived in Michigan, I came across The National Weight Control Registry, and always kept it in the back of my head that someday I will join in this effort because I think it's important research. Since many people visiting my blog have succeeded and are succeeding in this weight loss journey, I thought y'all might be interested in joining too when you meet their criteria. I will forewarn you, though, it is a commitment, and from an epidemiologist point-of-view, it's extremely frustrating when participants are lost to follow-up.

From their website:
The National Weight Control Registry (NWCR), established in 1994 by Rena Wing, Ph.D. from Brown Medical School, and James O. Hill, Ph.D. from the University of Colorado, is the largest prospective investigation of long-term successful weight loss maintenance. Given the prevailing belief that few individuals succeed at long-term weight loss, the NWCR was developed to identify and investigate the characteristics of individuals who have succeeded at long-term weight loss. The NWCR is tracking over 5,000 individuals who have lost significant amounts of weight and kept it off for long periods of time. Detailed questionnaires and annual follow-up surveys are used to examine the behavioral and psychological characteristics of weight maintainers, as well as the strategies they use to maintaining their weight losses.

Eligibility to participate in the registry:
1. Lost at least 30lbs.
2. Maintained a 30lb weight loss for a minimum of one year.

NWCR Facts
1. Eighty percent of persons in the registry are women and 20% are men.
2. The "average" woman is 45 years of age and currently weights 145 lbs, while the "average" man is 49 years of age and currently weights 190 lbs.
3. Registry members have lost an average of 66 lbs and kept it off for 5.5 years.
4. These averages, however, hide a lot of diversity:
a. Weight losses have ranged from 30 to 300 lbs.
b. Duration of successful weight loss has ranged from 1 year to 66 years!
c. Some have lost the weight rapidly, while others have lost weight very slowly--over as many as 14 years.
5. Forty-five percent of registry participants lost the weight on their own and the other fifty-five percent lost weight with the help of some type of program.
6. Ninety-eight percent of Registry participants report that they modified their food intake in some way to lose weight.
7. Ninety-four percent increased their physical activity, with the most frequently reported form of activity being walking.
8. There is variety in how NWCR members keep the weight off. Most report continuing to maintain a low calorie, low fat diet and doing high levels of activity.
a. Seventy-eight percent eat breakfast every day.
b. Seventy-five percent weigh them self at least once a week.
c. Sixty-two percent watch less than 10 hours of TV per week.
d. Ninety percent exercise, on average, about 1 hour per day.

I will attempt to review their research articles that were published in journals and highlight some of those findings so y'all have as much information as possible about losing weight.


Hanlie said...

That is fascinating! I really highlights the importance of exercise...

Scale Junkie said...

I have a feeling I'm going to be the one losing 250 pounds over 10 years as slowly as I lose LOL but those 10 years are going to pass anyhow, I might as well be thin by 50.

Heather said...

that is amazing! I didnt know such a thing existed but it is very important! so often people think that anyone losing weight couldnt possible keep it off. that is my not be that type of person! maybe I should join!