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9. Goals for weight loss

The general goals of weight loss and management are to reduce body weight, to maintain a lower body weight over the long term, and to prevent further weight gain. Evidence indicates that a moderate weight loss can be maintained over time if some form of therapy continues. It is better to maintain a moderate weight loss over a prolonged period than to regain from a marked weight loss.

 1. Initial Goal of Weight Loss from Baseline

There is strong and consistent evidence from randomized trials that overweight and obese patients in well-designed programs can achieve a weight loss of as much as 10 percent of baseline weight. In the diet trials, an average of 8 percent of baseline weight was lost. Since this average includes persons who did not lose weight, an individualized goal of 10 percent is reasonable.

The panel, therefore, recommends that: The initial goal of weight loss therapy should be to reduce body weight by approximately 10 percent from baseline. With success, further weight loss can be attempted if indicated through further assessment. Evidence Category A.

 2. Amount of Weight Loss

Randomized trials suggest that 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. Weight loss should be about 1 to 2 lb/week for a period of 6 months, with the subsequent strategy based on the amount of weight lost. Evidence Category B.

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