The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force advises clinicians to refer or offer intensive behavioral weight-loss interventions to obese adults, according to an updated recommendation statement published in.
Obesity affects more than one-third of U.S. adults, according to federal statistics. It carries increased risk for comorbidities including heart disease, diabetes, and various cancers, as well as increased risk of death among adults younger than 65 years, noted lead author, of the University of Iowa, Iowa City, and members of the Task Force.
The B recommendation applies to obese adults; obesity was defined as a body mass index of 30 kg/m2 or higher. The evidence review focused on interventions for weight loss and weight maintenance that could be provided in primary care or referred from primary care, such as nutrition counseling, exercise strategies, and goal setting.
The Task Force found adequate evidence that behavior-based weight-loss interventions improved weight, reduced incidence of type 2 diabetes, and helped maintain weight loss after interventions ended.
The Task Force found small to no evidence of harm associated with any of the behavioral weight-loss interventions, which included group sessions, personal sessions, print-based interventions, and technology-based interventions (such as text messages). Although interventions that combined drug therapy with behavioral intervention resulted in greater weight loss over 12-18 months, compared with behavioral interventions alone, the attrition rates were high and data on weight-loss maintenance after discontinuation of the drugs were limited, the Task Force noted.
“As a result, the USPSTF encourages clinicians to promote behavioral interventions as the primary focus of effective interventions for weight loss in adults,” they wrote.
The Task Force acknowledged the need for future research in subgroups and to explore whether factors such as genetics and untreated conditions are barriers to behavior-based weight loss interventions.
In the evidence review published in, , of Kaiser Permanente in Portland, Ore., and her colleagues reviewed data from 122 randomized, controlled trials including more than 62,000 persons and 2 observational studies including more than 209,000 persons.
The researchers found behavioral interventions were associated with greater weight loss and less risk of developing diabetes, compared with control interventions.
Intensive behavioral interventions included counseling patients about healthy eating, encouraging physical activity, setting weight and health goals, and assisting with weight monitoring. The interventions ranged from text messaging to in-person sessions for individuals or groups. The average absolute weight loss in the trials included in the review ranged from –0.5 kg to –9.3 kg (–1.1 lb to –20.5 lb) for intervention patients and from +1.4 kg to –5.6 kg (+3.1 lb to –12.3 lb) in controls.
Limitations of the review included a lack of data on population subgroups and a lack of long-term data on weight and health outcomes, the researchers noted. However, the results support the value of behavior-based therapy for obesity treatment.
The final recommendation is consistent with the 2018 draft recommendation and updates the 2012 final recommendation on obesity management.
The researchers and Task Force members had no relevant financial conflicts to disclose.
SOURCE: U.S. Preventive Services Task Force. JAMA. 2018;320(11):1163-71.