Obese people may be more likely to regain their weight after dieting due to changes in their hormones, a study has indicated – something that could interest expat insurance customers.
The research, which was undertaken by the University of Melbourne and Austin Health and published in the New England Journal of Medicine, involved 50 overweight adults who took part in a ten-week program where they consumed a low-energy diet.
Investigators analysed their appetite-regulating hormones at the baseline level, when they had completed the regime and one year later.
It was discovered that when around 13kg had been lost, hormones shifted in a way that would be thought to heighten an individual's appetite.
Furthermore, this was sustained for at least one year, during which the average participant gained 5kg.
Statistics indicate more than 80 per cent of obese dieters do not manage to maintain a low weight, despite the fact that people can often become slimmer due to a restricted eating habit.
It is estimated that at least 1.5 billion adults are overweight worldwide, with 400 million of these described as obese.
Professor Joseph Proietto claimed this study has revealed the position hormonal changes play in body weight, demonstrating one reason why dieting and behavioural changes often do not have long-term effects.
Campaigns that advise obese members of the public to engage in diet and exercise are therefore unlikely to reverse this public health problem, he stated.
The expert added: "The study also suggests that hunger following weight loss needs to be addressed. This may be possible with long-term pharmacotherapy or hormone manipulation, but these options need to be investigated."
Professor Proietto claimed efforts to ensure young people do not develop poor eating habits or become obese would have greater success than focusing on those who already have the condition.
Ensuring that children are not provided with fizzy and sugary drinks by promoting juices, water and diet alternatives is one way to establish healthy eating habits and avoid adulthood obesity, Slimming World nutritionist Jenny Allan recently argued.