Archive for June 23rd, 2011

Diet, Lifestyle and Weight Gain

Thursday, June 23, 2011 // Uncategorized

Here is a summary of the article in yesterday’s New England Journal followed by the abstract from Journal.  It shows the impact that consumption of some food groups and some activity have on weight gain over the years.

Long-Term Weight Gain Independently Mediated by Dietary and Lifestyle Factors
Several specific changes in diet and lifestyle can independently contribute to long-term weight gain, according to a New England Journal of Medicine study.
Researchers followed some 120,000 nonobese U.S. health professionals, evaluating self-reported changes in diet, lifestyle, and weight every 4 years. (All subjects were followed for at least 12 years; most were followed for 20.) The average weight gain was 3.4 lb for each 4-year period.
Dietary factors leading to the most weight gain included increased consumption of potatoes, sugar-sweetened beverages, and meats. Weight loss was associated with increased consumption of vegetables, whole grains, fruits, nuts, and yogurt.
Increased physical activity (as opposed to absolute levels of activity) was also associated with weight loss. For its part, smoking cessation led to weight gain in the short term but had a smaller long-term effect.


Original Article

Changes in Diet and Lifestyle and Long-Term Weight Gain in Women and Men

Dariush Mozaffarian, M.D., Dr.P.H., Tao Hao, M.P.H., Eric B. Rimm, Sc.D., Walter C. Willett, M.D., Dr.P.H., and Frank B. Hu, M.D., Ph.D.

N Engl J Med 2011; 364:2392-2404June 23, 2011


Specific dietary and other lifestyle behaviors may affect the success of the straightforward-sounding strategy “eat less and exercise more” for preventing long-term weight gain.


We performed prospective investigations involving three separate cohorts that included 120,877 U.S. women and men who were free of chronic diseases and not obese at baseline, with follow-up periods from 1986 to 2006, 1991 to 2003, and 1986 to 2006. The relationships between changes in lifestyle factors and weight change were evaluated at 4-year intervals, with multivariable adjustments made for age, baseline body-mass index for each period, and all lifestyle factors simultaneously. Cohort-specific and sex-specific results were similar and were pooled with the use of an inverse-variance–weighted meta-analysis.


Within each 4-year period, participants gained an average of 3.35 lb (5th to 95th percentile, −4.1 to 12.4). On the basis of increased daily servings of individual dietary components, 4-year weight change was most strongly associated with the intake of potato chips (1.69 lb), potatoes (1.28 lb), sugar-sweetened beverages (1.00 lb), unprocessed red meats (0.95 lb), and processed meats (0.93 lb) and was inversely associated with the intake of vegetables (−0.22 lb), whole grains (−0.37 lb), fruits (−0.49 lb), nuts (−0.57 lb), and yogurt (−0.82 lb) (P≤0.005 for each comparison). Aggregate dietary changes were associated with substantial differences in weight change (3.93 lb across quintiles of dietary change). Other lifestyle factors were also independently associated with weight change (P<0.001), including physical activity (−1.76 lb across quintiles); alcohol use (0.41 lb per drink per day), smoking (new quitters, 5.17 lb; former smokers, 0.14 lb), sleep (more weight gain with <6 or >8 hours of sleep), and television watching (0.31 lb per hour per day).


Specific dietary and lifestyle factors are independently associated with long-term weight gain, with a substantial aggregate effect and implications for strategies to prevent obesity. (Funded by the National Institutes of Health and others.)

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