Washington, Mar 12: Nothing helps better than a sympathetic ear of a counsellor to keep off the lost weight, a new study has claimed. The largest and longest study of the weight loss maintenance strategies studied 1685 overweight or obese adults who were being treated for high blood pressure and high cholesterol. Participants were told to increase their activity level, reduce their calorie intake and follow the DASH diet (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) for a period of six months. The DASH diet emphasised on fruits, vegetables, low-fat dairy products and whole grains, and has been proven to lower bad cholesterol and blood pressure.
The study divided the participants into three groups-- a self-directed control group, where they were left to their own devices to manage their weight; a personal contact group, where they received monthly coaching and support from a counsellor assigned to them; or a computer-based, weight loss maintenance program that offered the same counseling that personal contact offered but in a virtual, interactive format. The findings suggested those in the personal contact group were the most successful, with 77 per cent maintaining some weight loss. The computer intervention group had a 69 per cent success rate and the self-directed group had 67 per cent. Lead author Laura Svetkey stressed that every pound lost could lower blood pressure and risk of developing diabetes. ''Our patients have shown that under the right conditions, long-term weight control is an achievable goal worth pursuing,''