Weight loss programs attract many volunteers, yet drop out rates can be high, reducing the quality of results and outcomes and making it difficult to assist consumers. Our current weight loss study, examining different iso-energetic meal patterns, recruited 181 adults (50 men, 131 women). Thirty-six (20%), (9 Men, 27 Women) declined follow up within the first month. The aim was to determine if there were any differences physiologically between the groups or if there were other reasons why volunteers declined to continue. Analysis revealed there were no significant differences (p > 0.05) with respect to initial weight, body composition (% body fat, lean body mass), serum lipid profile, insulin resistance, age, gender, BMI, waist, blood pressure or depression score (all assessed using standard methods) between those who continued and those who did not. We speculated that random allocation to an unwanted meal pattern may have contributed to dropping out. Results indicate that there were no significant differences (p > 0.05) for a dropout’s baseline meal pattern between each of the three meal patterns, and for each gender. Interviews and qualitative data provided only 1 case where the meal pattern allocation had been the deciding factor to drop out. The remainder cited work, time constraints and family commitments as the primary reason. We conclude that a profile to reliably predict those who will quit a weight loss study could not be developed, and that we need to develop tools to evaluate lifestyle predictors more effectively.
Dietitians Association of Australia 24th National Conference, 2006. Abstracts: Poster Presentations of the 2006 DAA National Conference (presented in Nutrition & Dietetics Vol.63, Supp.1) (Sydney, Australia 11-13 May, 2006) p. A45-A45