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Predicting short-term weight loss using four leading health behavior change theories

International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity. 2007;4(1):14 DOI 10.1186/1479-5868-4-14


Journal Homepage

Journal Title: International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity

ISSN: 1479-5868 (Online)

Publisher: BMC

Society/Institution: The International Society of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity (ISBNPA)

LCC Subject Category: Medicine: Internal medicine: Specialties of internal medicine: Nutritional diseases. Deficiency diseases | Medicine: Public aspects of medicine

Country of publisher: United Kingdom

Language of fulltext: English

Full-text formats available: PDF, HTML, ePUB



Barata José T

Minderico Cláudia S

Martins Sandra S

Branco Teresa L

Teixeira Pedro J

Palmeira António L

Serpa Sidónio O

Sardinha Luís B


Blind peer review

Editorial Board

Instructions for authors

Time From Submission to Publication: 11 weeks


Abstract | Full Text

<p>Abstract</p> <p>Background</p> <p>This study was conceived to analyze how exercise and weight management psychosocial variables, derived from several health behavior change theories, predict weight change in a short-term intervention. The theories under analysis were the Social Cognitive Theory, the Transtheoretical Model, the Theory of Planned Behavior, and Self-Determination Theory.</p> <p>Methods</p> <p>Subjects were 142 overweight and obese women (BMI = 30.2 ± 3.7 kg/m<sup>2</sup>; age = 38.3 ± 5.8y), participating in a 16-week University-based weight control program. Body weight and a comprehensive psychometric battery were assessed at baseline and at program's end.</p> <p>Results</p> <p>Weight decreased significantly (-3.6 ± 3.4%, p < .001) but with great individual variability. Both exercise and weight management psychosocial variables improved during the intervention, with exercise-related variables showing the greatest effect sizes. Weight change was significantly predicted by each of the models under analysis, particularly those including self-efficacy. Bivariate and multivariate analyses results showed that change in variables related to weight management had a stronger predictive power than exercise-specific predictors and that change in weight management self-efficacy was the strongest individual correlate (p < .05). Among exercise predictors, with the exception of self-efficacy, importance/effort and intrinsic motivation towards exercise were the stronger predictors of weight reduction (p < .05).</p> <p>Conclusion</p> <p>The present models were able to predict 20–30% of variance in short-term weight loss and changes in weight management self-efficacy accounted for a large share of the predictive power. As expected from previous studies, exercise variables were only moderately associated with short-term outcomes; they are expected to play a larger explanatory role in longer-term results.</p>