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Member Research & Reports

Member Research & Reports

Colorado Study: Light-intensity Activities Play Role in Maintaining Weight-loss

Researchers at the University of Colorado Anschutz Health and Wellness Center including Colorado School of Public Health doctoral student Danielle Ostendorf, examine how patterns of light-intensity activities play a role in helping people maintain weight loss.

“We conducted the study to better understand whether patterns of light-intensity activity and sedentary behavior were different in those who were successfully maintaining a weight loss compared to those who are not,” said Ms.  Ostendorf.

The study included three groups of participants:

The results of the study were surprising.

“We had hypothesized that the weight-loss maintainers would be significantly different than the other two groups in terms of sedentary behavior and light activity,” Ms. Ostendorf said. “What was surprising was that the weight-loss maintainers and normal weight controls were similar in terms of their overall sedentary time and their time spent doing light activity, but differed dramatically from the controls with overweight/obesity in these parameters.”

While there are benefits of light-intensity activities, it is typically not examined in weight-loss maintenance studies because it can be difficult to monitor. As a guideline, the U.S Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion recommends that weight-loss maintainers do 300 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity each week. As part of her dissertation, Ms. Ostendorf plans to test the 300 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise guideline for weight-loss maintenance. She wonders if a lower amount of moderate-intensity activity, when coupled with less time being sedentary and more time doing light-intensity activity, would be just as effective in maintaining weight loss.

“Understanding how people maintain weight loss is really important,” Ms. Ostendorf said. “If we can have an impact on helping people maintain their weight loss then we can help prevent chronic disease and early mortality. Excess weight is connected to so many disease pathways.”

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