Attitudes towards, and methods of, maintaining or losing body weight among adults

Peter Buzzacott, Sarah French, Lisa Wood, Michael Rosenberg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


To investigate motivators and strategies of adult weight loss or management, 1805 adults aged 18 - 65 were asked by computer assisted telephone interviews about their weight management behavior during the previous four weeks. High levels of importance to reduce risks associated with chronic diseases such as cancer, heart disease and diabetes were observed, although were indistinguishable between people attempting or not attempting to lose or maintain weight. Results showed that BMI was the strongest predictor of attempting to manage weight irrespective of age and, compared with males, females were more likely to attempt weight management at a lower BMI. Among the weight management group, the most popular weight management strategy was to choose healthier food options (77% and 70% for females and males respectively). With the weight management group also more likely to be monitoring the amount of food they consume, limiting portions sizes and tracking their physical activity participation compared with people not managing their weight. The current study showed that the likelihood of weight management within four weeks prior to the survey peaked for both sexes when BMI reached obese levels, (BMI = 30 - 39.9), suggesting that among people categorised as obese most were attempting to manage their weight. The results also suggest that at least some adults were not attempting to maintain their weight in the four weeks prior to the survey, irrespective of their BMI status. The implications of these findings suggest more effective approaches to weight loss and maintenance could focus on strategies that directly address the benefits and motivations of weight loss and weight maintenance, rather than focusing on conveying the risks of being overweight and the importance of avoiding chronic disease.
Original languageEnglish
Article number28585
Pages (from-to)388-395
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2013


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