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5. Goals of Weight Loss and Management.

The initial goal of weight loss therapy is to reduce body weight by approximately 10 percent from baseline. If this goal is achieved, further weight loss can be attempted, if indicated through further evaluation.

A reasonable time line for a 10 percent reduction in body weight is 6 months of therapy. For overweight patients with BMIs in the typical range of 27 to 35, a decrease of 300 to 500 kcal/day will result in weight losses of about 1⁄2 to 1 lb/week and a 10 percent loss in 6 months.

For more severely obese patients with BMIs > 35, deficits of up to 500 to 1,000 kcal/day will lead to weight losses of about 1 to 2 lb/week and a 10 percent weight loss in 6 months.

Weight loss at the rate of 1 to 2 lb/week (calorie deficit of 500 to 1,000 kcal/day) commonly occurs for up to 6 months. After 6 months, the rate of weight loss usually declines and weight plateaus because of a lesser energy expenditure at the lower weight.

Experience reveals that lost weight usually will be regained unless a weight maintenance program consisting of dietary therapy, physical activity, and behavior therapy is continued indefinitely. After 6 months of weight loss treatment, efforts to maintain weight loss should be put in place. If more weight loss is needed, another attempt at weight reduction can be made.

This will require further adjustment of the diet and physical activity prescriptions. For patients unable to achieve significant weight reduction, prevention of further weight gain is an important goal; such patients may also need to participate in a weight management program.

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