Daily self-weighing and holiday-associated weight gain in adults
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Obesity is a worldwide health concern and is linked to the development of several chronic diseases. The rise in obesity prevalence has remained somewhat stable in the past few years. However, almost one-third of the United States adults are classified as obese and the degree of obesity continues to increase. Although the average yearly weight gain among U.S. adults is not large (0.4-1.0kg/year), accumulation of this small, yet consistent, weight gain can lead to significant weight gain over a long period of time. Studies show that a substantial portion of annual weight gain is due to an energy surplus during short periods of time throughout the year, importantly the holiday season. To date, there are no intervention studies aimed at preventing holiday weight gain. The objective of this dissertation is to introduce daily self-weighing (DSW) using the Caloric Titration Method (CTM) as an effective intervention in preventing holiday weight gain in adults. In the manuscript, body weight and other anthropometrics, as well as lipid profile, dietary and sleep patterns, stress level, and a number of perceptions towards food were measured before (within 1 week before Thanksgiving), immediately after (within 1 week after New Year’s Day) and 14-weeks after the holiday season (early April). DSW was performed by the intervention group during the holidays while the control group did not receive any type of intervention. We found that DSW does prevent holiday weight gain in both sexes while its absence is associated with a significant increase in body weight during the holidays in both sexes. Weight maintenance as a result of DSW was driven by a significant weight loss in individuals with overweight and obesity while normal weight individuals were able to achieve weight maintenance. Based on the successful implementation of DSW in the overweight and obese population, along with the risk of greatest weight gain and retention in the absence of an intervention, DSW may be an ideal target for all adults, but especially for individuals with a high body weight. This dissertation suggests a feasible, effective and innovative approach to prevent weight gain thereby possibly improving health in adults.