Effects of Health At Every Size® strategies on short- versus long-term weight loss in people with overweight and obesity: a systematic review

University essay from Stockholms universitet/Institutionen för molekylär biovetenskap, Wenner-Grens institut

Abstract: Traditional weight loss interventions based on the principle “eat less, move more” often lead to weight regain in the long-term. The Health-At-Every-Size® (HAES®) is an alternative intervention that focuses on self-acceptance, intuitive eating, and physical activity for overall well-being. However, evidence on the effectiveness of HAES® in terms of weight loss remains sparse and the existing systematic reviews did not compare the short-term versus long-term effects. The aim of this systematic review was to assess the effectiveness of HAES® on short- and long-term weight loss in people with obesity and overweight. Five scientific databases were searched and 11 papers met the inclusion criteria. These studies were conducted in Canada, United States, Brazil, and the United Kingdom, only with female participants, and in a group-setting. Six out of ten studies with short-term follow-ups (<1y) and four out of seven studies with long-term follow-ups (>1y) reported significant weight reductions in the HAES®-group compared to the pre-intervention baseline. There were no consistent weight reduction effects when HAES® was compared to control groups (waiting list, social support, or traditional dieting). Interestingly, some studies found significant benefits of HAES® on health-outcomes, eating behaviors, or psychological functioning. In conclusion, there is only modest evidence that HAES® facilitates weight loss short-term or long-term. However, there are behavioral and psychological benefits of HAES®, which suggests that combining this method with traditional weight loss interventions could result in optimal outcomes.

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