Autonomous Motivation May Have Large Role in Weight Loss

In small study, predicts future weight loss, adherence to self-monitoring
By Beth Gilbert
HealthDay Reporter

FRIDAY, May 7 (HealthDay News) -- Autonomous motivation is a potential intervention target for increasing adherence to self-monitoring in a weight-loss program and weight loss itself, according to a study published in the May 2010 issue of the Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior.

In a two-group randomized design, Kelly H. Webber, Ph.D., of the University of Kentucky in Lexington, and colleagues evaluated 66 women, aged 22 to 65 years, with a body mass index between 25 and 40 kg/m2, and with a home computer with Internet access, to assess adherence to self-monitoring and weight loss in a 16-week Internet behavioral weight-loss intervention.

At 16 weeks of follow-up, the researchers found that 37 of 66 participants had lost 5 percent of initial body weight. In these women, autonomous motivation increased initially and remained high. However, both autonomous and controlled motivation declined over time for those who did not achieve a 5 percent weight loss. In addition, at four weeks, autonomous motivation was a predictor of an individual's adherence to self-monitoring and of weight loss at 16 weeks. They also found that the relationship between autonomous motivation and weight loss was mediated by adherence.

"These results suggest that autonomous motivation may be a promising intervention target for promoting program procedure adherence and weight loss," the authors write.

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