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Key Behaviors for Long-term Weight Loss Revealed

Update Date: Jan 06, 2014 01:31 PM EST

Want to keep lost weight off? Scientists are revealing key health behaviors that can help lead to successful long-term weight loss.

Lead researcher J. Graham Thomas followed nearly 3,000 participants for 10 years. All participants were enrolled in the National Weight Control Registry, had lost at least 30 pounds and had kept it off for at least one year.

Researchers wanted to see how well participants kept the weight off and to determine factors of successful weight loss maintenance.

"On average, participants maintained the majority of their weight loss over this extended follow-up period, and better success was related to continued performance of physical activity, self-weighing, low-fat diets, and avoiding overeating," Thomas said in a statement.

The study also revealed that more than 87 percent of people in the study were estimated to be still maintaining at least a 10 percent weight loss at five and 10 years after weight loss.

The findings revealed that larger initial weight loss and longer duration of maintenance were associated with better long-term outcomes. However, decreases in physical activity, dietary restraint and self-weight as well as increases in fat intake were linked to greater weight regain.

"This is one of the only studies to follow weight loss maintenance over such a long term. What the results tell us is that long-term weight loss maintenance is possible, but it requires persistent adherence to a few key health behaviors," Thomas concluded.

The findings are published in the journal American Journal of Preventive Medicine.

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