Kristen M. J. Azar, Sylvia Sudat, Qiwen Huang, Alice P. Pressman, Nina K. Szwerinski, Catherine Nasrallah, Elizabeth M. Venditti, Robert J. Romanelli, Examining paradoxical session attendance and weight loss relationships in a clinic-based lifestyle modification intervention.Obes Sci Pract. 2023;, 2023 Jul 04
Evaluations of lifestyle modification interventions (LMIs), modeled after the Diabetes Prevention Program, have repeatedly shown a dose-response relationship between session attendance and weight loss. Despite this, not all participants had “average” weight loss experiences. Nearly one-third of LMI participants experienced unexpected, paradoxical outcomes (i.e., high attendance with little weight loss, and low attendance with clinically significant weight loss). Paradoxical weight-loss outcomes were characterized based on session attendance among participants in a group-based LMI in a real-world healthcare setting. This group-based LMI was delivered over 1 year to participants with the possibility of attending up to 25 sessions total.
LMI participants identified in 2010–2017 from electronic health records were characterized as having low (<75%) or high (≥75%) session attendance. Weight-loss outcomes were defined as expected (≥5%, high-attendance; <5%, low-attendance) or paradoxical (≥5%, low-attendance; <5%, high-attendance). Paradoxical-outcome-associated characteristics were identified using logistic regression.
Among 1813 LMI participants, 1498 (82.6%) had low and 315 (17.4%) high session attendance; 555 (30.6%) had paradoxical outcomes, comprising 415 (74.8%) responders (≥5% weight-loss) and 140 (25.2%) non-responders (<5% weight-loss). Among participants with high session attendance, paradoxical non-responders were more likely to be female (odds ratio [OR]: 2.76; 95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.32, 5.77) and have type 2 diabetes (OR: 3.32; 95% CI: 1.01, 10.95). Among low-attendance participants, paradoxical responders were more likely to be non-Hispanic White and less likely to be non-Hispanic Black (OR: 0.35; 95% CI: 0.18, 0.69), non-Hispanic Asian (OR: 0.40; 95% CI: 0.22, 0.73), or Hispanic (OR: 0.53; 95% CI: 0.35, 0.80).
In a healthcare setting, nearly one-third of LMI participants experienced paradoxical outcomes. More research is needed to understand the facilitators and barriers to weight loss above and beyond session attendance.