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April 21, 1989

The Treatment of Obesity in Adults

JAMA. 1989;261(15):2200. doi:10.1001/jama.1989.03420150049024

To the Editor.—  Regarding the Council on Scientific Affairs1 report entitled "Treatment of Obesity in Adults," three points should be made. First, there is now increasing evidence that weight loss achieved through restriction of energy intake can "prime" for future weight gain.2,3The second major issue is whether any currently available weight-loss programs are effective. The suggestion in the article that there should be "weight maintenance for at least one year following treatment" is probably inadequate. Maintenance of regulation of body weight occurs over very long periods and probably a 5-year follow-up is the minimum effective time that should be scrutinized.Finally, the conclusions of the article are inadequately supported. There is no evidence that any available "comprehensive long-term weight control program" is an effective treatment for obesity over a 5-year span. In my review of the literature, I have been unable to find any documentation extending for 5