Are There Sex Differences in Behavioral Predictors of Successful Weight Loss Maintenance?

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Virginia Tech


Current literature emphasizes poor long-term weight loss maintenance (WTLM) outcomes, and the need for inexpensive, practical solutions for effective WTLM is evident. Individuals successful at WTLM utilize similar behaviors but in varying amounts and combinations, seemingly choosing behaviors that best fit their preferences. Researchers have attempted to identify characteristics of individuals that may predict successful WTLM in order to develop flexible WTLM treatments based on individuals' lifestyle and preferences.

The purpose of this analysis was to examine sex differences in WTLM outcomes and to identify potential behaviors related to WTLM success. In a 12-month study targeting WTLM, weight-reduced middle-aged and older men and women (n=39) were assigned behavioral goals for body weight, fruit and vegetable intake, water consumption, and physical activity and were asked to daily self-monitor body weight and these behaviors. Sex difference in clinically significant WL ≥5% WL) at 12 months was determined. A growth curve model assessed interactions of sex and WTLM predictors, and a crisp set qualitative comparative analysis (QCA) characterized individuals' weight changes and behaviors. No sex difference was found in clinically significant WL or in the interaction of sex and behaviors on weight change; however, QCA evidence suggests men and women may approach WTLM with different behaviors. Additionally, QCA findings suggest weight change in the first 3 months of WTLM may determine success at 12-months. WTLM treatments should provide more intensive support during the transition period from WL to WTLM. Future research in predictors of WTLM, particularly within the context of sex, is essential.



weight loss maintenance, Obesity, sex differences, behaviors, predictors