A new method could now help prevent people from getting obese and overweight.
All participants in the study were 30-65 years of age and were recruited on the basis that they had twice participated in Vasterbotten Intervention Programme (VIP), which is carried out in Vasterbotten, Sweden, or in the Upstate Health and Wellness Study, in New York State in the US.
The thesis shows that of all VIP-participants who were of normal weight or overweight and took part in the VHU study in 1990-2004, only about one third did not gain weight.
One surprising result was that younger individuals of normal weight, without type-2 diabetes, and without risk factors for cardiovascular disease were those least likely to maintain weight.
Kristina Lindvall, a dietitian and doctoral candidate at the Unit for Epidemiology and Global Health, said that this means that interventions and programs aiming at prevention of overweight and obesity may need to be broadened to also include these groups that are normally regarded as being at low risk for weight gain.
Research interviews with VIP participants that managed to maintain their weight after weight loss showed that weight maintenance was seen as balancing act, not only to maintain weight but also to manage other factors in life.
Four main strategies for maintaining weight were described: 'to rely on heritage,' 'to find the joy,' 'to find the routine' and 'to be in control.'
Kristina Lindvall claims that these results indicate that it is important to tailoradvice given not only to individuals wishing to lose weight but also to those wanting to maintain their weight.