Some interventions may prevent weight gain

Comparative Effectiveness Research

There is some limited evidence that certain interventions and approaches may help prevent weight gain, finds a new research review from AHRQ. The strategies of interest were self-management techniques, diet, physical activity, use of the dietary fat absorption inhibitor orlistat, or combinations of these strategies applied at the individual or community level. Potentially effective strategies include ones that involve minor behavior change (such as eating more meals prepared at home) or more major changes (including endurance exercise training in a gym at least three times per week). 

Two interventions had moderately strong evidence: a work-based intervention that combined diet, physical activity, and environmental interventions; and aerobic and resistance exercise performed at home among women with a history of cancer. From 2005 to 2008, only 31 percent of American adults were at a healthy weight.

Image of person on weighing machine  By 2008, health care costs associated with obesity were estimated at $147 billion. Obesity is a risk factor for chronic conditions including cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, arthritis, certain types of cancer, and cancer recurrence. Although evidence is limited to support strategies preventing weight gain, the rationale to prevent weight gain is sound given the strong evidence that obesity is associated with poor health, is costly, and is difficult to reverse. More research is needed to examine strategies to prevent weight gain among healthy weight individuals and, separately, overweight and obese individuals.

You can access the research review, Strategies To Prevent Weight Gain Among Adults at

Page last reviewed May 2013
Internet Citation: Some interventions may prevent weight gain: Comparative Effectiveness Research. May 2013. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Rockville, MD.