THURSDAY, March 17, 2022 (HealthDay News) — Making small changes to caloric intake and physical activity levels does not prevent long-term weight gain among overweight adults, according to a study published online March 7 in CMAJ, the journal of the Canadian Medical Association.

Robert Ross, Ph.D., from Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario, Canada, and colleagues randomly assigned 320 sedentary adults with overweight or obesity to monitoring alone (160 participants) or a small change approach (SCA; 160 participants) that included an increase in daily step count by 2,000 steps and a decrease in energy intake of 100 kcal per day. Most participants completed the two-year (83.8 percent) and three-year follow-up (74.7 percent).

The researchers observed significant differences in body weight change between the groups at three, six, 12, and 15 months from baseline, but differences were no longer significant at 24 months or at 36 months. Similarly, changes in waist circumference and cardiorespiratory fitness were not significantly different between the groups at long-term follow-up.

“Our principal finding does not support earlier evidence showing the promise of the small change approach as a pragmatic and more effective strategy for the prevention of weight gain compared with monitoring alone,” the authors write.

One author disclosed financial ties to the biotechnology and food industry.

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