Weight Change During the Postintervention Follow-up of Look AHEAD


OBJECTIVE: Patients with type 2 diabetes are encouraged to lose weight, but excessive weight loss in older adults may be a marker of poor health and subsequent mortality. We examined weight change during the postintervention period of Look AHEAD, a randomized trial comparing intensive lifestyle intervention (ILI) with diabetes support and education (DSE) (control) in overweight/obese individuals with type 2 diabetes and sought to identify predictors of excessive postintervention weight loss and its association with mortality. RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS: These secondary analyses compared postintervention weight change (year 8 to final visit; median 16 years) in ILI and DSE in 3,999 Look AHEAD participants. Using empirically derived trajectory categories, we compared four subgroups: weight gainers (n = 307), weight stable (n = 1,561), steady losers (n = 1,731), and steep losers (n = 380), on postintervention mortality, demographic variables, and health status at randomization and year 8. RESULTS: Postintervention weight change averaged -3.7 ± 9.5%, with greater weight loss in the DSE than the ILI group. The steep weight loss trajectory subgroup lost on average 17.7 ± 6.6%; 30% of steep losers died during postintervention follow-up versus 10-18% in other trajectories (P < 0001). The following variables distinguished steep losers from weight stable: baseline, older, longer diabetes duration, higher BMI, and greater multimorbidity; intervention, randomization to control group and less weight loss in years 1-8; and year 8, higher prevalence of frailty, multimorbidity, and depressive symptoms and lower use of weight control strategies. CONCLUSIONS: Steep weight loss postintervention was associated with increased risk of mortality. Older individuals with longer duration of diabetes and multimorbidity should be monitored for excessive unintentional weight loss.

Publication Title

Diabetes care