Impact of active participation of a "significant other" during weight loss treatment: results from the "Familiy & Friends" study
MetadataShow full item record
Objectives: The main aim of this study was to determine the impact of having a “significant other” present during a weight management program on changes in body weight, fat mass and VO2 peak, both in the short- (3 weeks) and long-term (1 year). A secondary aim was to determine short- and long-term changes in subjective feeling of appetite, energy- and macronutrient intake and physical activity (PA) levels. Method: This research project was based on a non-randomized controlled trial “Family & Friends” and included 60 obese (BMI>40 kg/m 2 or BMI>35 kg/m 2 with obesity related comorbidities) men and women aged 17-55 years. The treatment consisted of a “continuous care” lifestyle modification program with intermittent stays at the Røros rehabilitation centre. Participants participated either alone or together with a significant other. Measurements on body weight, BMI, waist circumference (WC), PA levels, subjective feelings of appetite and energy- and macronutrients intake were measured at baseline, after 3 weeks and at 1 year. Body composition measurements and VO 2 peak were done only at baseline and at 1 year. Result: Participating in obesity treatment with a significant other resulted in the same amount of weight loss and BMI reduction in the short-term compared to participating alone. In the long-term those who attended alone lost more weight and experienced a larger reduction in their BMI score. No differences were found in terms of WC, body fat mass or VO2 peak changes over time between the two groups. Participants experienced short- and long-term increases in vigorous PA and protein intake, and short-term decreases in energy- and fat intake. Conclusion: Inclusion of a significant other does not seem to be advantageous in the morbid obese population. However, more and larger trials that include different measurements on perceived social support are needed before we can draw any conclusions. Relevance: Because of the high prevalence of obesity and its dramatic health and economical consequences it is important to find effective treatment approaches. Inclusion of a significant other in obesity treatment has the potential to increase social support, and it may enhance weight loss. This potential effect of inclusion of a significant other in obesity treatment, especially for those with severe obesity is still inconclusive. This study is the first study to only included morbid obese individuals, and shows that inclusion of a significant other might not be advantageous in the morbid obese population. However, more and bigger studies are necessary to confirm this.