Sports injuries

January/February 2010

Impact of compliance on weight loss and health profile in a very low energy diet program

Volume 39, No.1, January/February 2010 Pages 49-52

Graeme Wright

Brian Dawson

Geoffrey Jalleh

Saskia Law


Although intuitive, little data links program compliance with weight loss and health profile changes in obese Australians.


Overall, 52% achieved high compliance (females: 53%, males: 49%). Greater compliance was associated with greater weight loss and health profile changes in both genders. Mean male weight loss approximated 12 kg, 21 kg and 26 kg with low, medium and high compliance; mean female values were 8 kg, 15 kg and 20 kg. Body mass index, waist-hip ratios, and blood pressure, cholesterol, triglyceride and glucose changes were all more marked with high compliance.


Obese males (n=308) and females (n=734) from one clinic using a very low energy diet intervention were studied over 26 weeks. Physical and health profiles were assessed. Low compliance completed 1–12 weeks, medium 13–20 weeks and high 21–26 weeks.


Unsurprisingly, high compliance in both genders was consistently associated with more substantial reductions (>15%) of body weight and greater health profile improvements.

Worldwide, 1 billion people are overweight, with 30% being obese.1 In Australia, recent data reported 19% of males and 22% of females as obese.2 With the disease burden associated with obesity, health care costs are concerning.2–5 Commonly, treatment for obesity is a very low energy diet (VLED). These have been researched since the 1920s,6–10 with VLEDs inducing significant weight loss and improving cardiovascular risk factors.10–12 Often, VLEDs are used in small groups, with studies typically reporting 70–80% of female participants.9,11,13 However, Adams14 found males participating in group sessions usually lost more weight than females. Furthermore, there is some data demonstrating that attendance at more group sessions correlates to greater weight loss.14

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