Effect of frequent phone contacts and optional food provision on maintenance of weight loss

Rena R. Wing, Robert W. Jeffery, Wendy L. Hellerstedt, Lisa R. Burton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

41 Scopus citations


This article reports the results of two studies evaluating strategies to improve maintenance of weight loss. Study 1 evaluated the effect of frequent contact with patients through phone calls designed to promote adherence to self-monitoring: Study 2 evaluated a crisis intervention model, where subjects could obtain food boxes during high-risk periods to simplify dietary adherence. All subjects had originally participated in an initial six-month behavioral weight control program conducted at the University of Minnesota or at the University of Pittsburgh and had lost >4.0 kg. Subjects from the University of Minnesota (N = 53) were randomly assigned to either a year- long maintenance program involving weekly phone calls from a staff member or to a no-contact control (Study I). Weekly phone calls, which inquired about self-monitoring and current weight, were completed with high frequency (76% completion rate); call completion and self-reported adherence to daily monitoring were negatively associated with weight regain (r = -0.52 to - 0.59, p < .01). However, weight regain did not differ significantly in the Phone Maintenance versus Control Condition (+3.9 kg versus +5.6 kg, p = .28). Study 2, conducted at the University of Pittsburgh, involved 47 subjects who were randomly assigned to a Control or Optional Food Provision Condition. Both groups attended monthly maintenance meetings; the Food Provision Group had the option of purchasing boxes of food containing five breakfasts and five dinners. Twelve of the 26 subjects in the Food Provision Group purchased these food boxes for at least one month of maintenance. However, weight regain in those people who purchased the box, or in the Food Provision Condition as a whole, did not differ from the Control Condition (+4.2 kg for intervention versus +4.3 kg for control). Further research is needed to develop more effective maintenance interventions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)172-176
Number of pages5
JournalAnnals of Behavioral Medicine
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jan 1 1996


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