The Ugly Obesity Odds


So, you or someone you know wants to lose weight—say, from clinically obese to normal. What are his odds?


About one in 210, according to a study in the American Journal of Public Health.


Researchers tracked 278,982 people between 2004 and 2014 using ehealth records. Anybody who had weight loss surgery was excluded. Over the course of the study, 1,283 men and 2,245 women got back to a normal body weight.


For obese people (those with a body mass of 30 to 35), the annual probability of returning to normal body weight was one in 210 for men and one in 124 for women.

For those with morbid obesity (BMI of 40+), the news is worse: one in 1,290 men and one in 677 women can come back.

The Takeaway

How does one come back from obesity? Visiting the doctor, making a plan, constant weigh-ins, and social support.

But those odds still suck. Speaking to the BBC, one of the researchers said,

“Treatment needs to focus on stopping people gaining more weight and maintaining even small levels of weight loss. Current strategies that focus on cutting calories and boosting physical activity aren’t working for most patients to achieve weight loss and maintain that. The greatest opportunity for fighting the obesity epidemic might be in public health policies to prevent it in the first place at a population level.”


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