Publication Date

Summer 2015

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Nutrition, Food Science and Packaging


Clarie B. Hollenbeck


counseling, obesity, weight loss maintenance, weight management

Subject Areas

Nutrition; Behavioral sciences; Health sciences


Widespread overweight and obesity persist in the United States, and while many effective methods of weight loss have been developed, long-term weight loss maintenance (WLM) remains a challenge. Evidence strongly indicates that ongoing personalized support can effectively promote sustained WLM; however, the optimal frequency of supportive contact has yet to be investigated. This study retrospectively analyzed clinical records from a commercial lifestyle-based weight management program offering personalized WLM counseling. The unique element of this program was participants’ ability to select how often to contact their WLM counselor. Following weight loss, participants enrolled in the program's 12-month weight maintenance phase. The question under investigation was whether there was an association between frequency of counseling sessions during maintenance and participants' overall WLM success. After 12 months, participants who completed the program successfully sustained an average 11% net weight loss. However, no significant relationship was observed between total number of counseling sessions and percent body weight change during maintenance, indicating that other factors may play a role in participant decisions about when to contact their counselor and in their ability to sustain lost weight. Additional research is warranted in the areas of contact frequency, reasons for attrition, and additional factors mediating counseling support and WLM.