Specific Diet, Lifestyle Factors Tied to Long-Term Weight Gain

Non-obese U.S. nationals gain an average of 3.35 lbs every four years

WEDNESDAY, June 22 (HealthDay News) -- Specific dietary and lifestyle behaviors are independently associated with long-term weight gain, according to a study published in the June 23 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

Dariush Mozaffarian, M.D., Dr.P.H., from the Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, and colleagues investigated the impact of specific dietary and lifestyle behaviors on long-term weight gain in 120,877 non-obese U.S. women and men with no chronic disease at baseline. The participants comprised three groups, with follow-up periods from 1986 to 2006, 1991 to 2003, and 1986 to 2006. The changes in lifestyle factors and weight change were evaluated every four years after adjusting for age, baseline body mass index for each period, and all lifestyle factors simultaneously. Gender and cohort-specific results were similar and were pooled and meta-analyzed.

The investigators found that the participants gained an average of 3.35 lbs in every four-year period. Increased daily servings of potato chips, potatoes, sugar-sweetened beverages, unprocessed red meats, and processed meats were individually strongly associated with a four-year weight gain of 1.69, 1.28, 1.00, 0.95, and 0.93 lbs, respectively. Increased daily servings of vegetables, whole grains, fruits, nuts, and yogurt were significantly inversely associated with weight change. Combined dietary changes correlated with considerable differences in weight change. Physical activity, alcohol, smoking, sleep, and television watching were independently associated with weight change.

"Specific dietary and lifestyle factors are independently associated with long-term weight gain, with a substantial aggregate effect and implications for strategies to prevent obesity," the authors write.

Two of the study authors disclosed financial relationships with the pharmaceutical, medical publishing, food technology, and nutrition industries.

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