The relationship of weight suppression to treatment outcomes during behavioral weight loss

  • Christine C. CallEmail author
  • Amani D. Piers
  • Emily P. Wyckoff
  • Michael R. Lowe
  • Evan M. Forman
  • Meghan L. Butryn


Many adults enter behavioral weight loss (BWL) programs at a weight below their highest lifetime weight. The discrepancy between highest lifetime weight and current weight is known as weight suppression (WS). Research has yet to characterize WS during BWL or investigate its relation to weight loss outcomes or treatment acceptability. Adults (N = 272) in a 12-month BWL program were assessed. WS was calculated by subtracting measured baseline weight from self-reported highest lifetime weight. Participants with higher WS lost significantly less weight than those with lower WS during treatment, although they still had clinically meaningful weight losses (e.g., participants with WS above the median: 7.8 kg; participants with WS below the median: 12.0 kg). WS was unrelated to weight losses at 24-month follow-up. Controlling for weight loss, treatment acceptability was unrelated to WS. BWL appears appropriate for those with high WS, but future research should aim to improve outcomes in this group.


Weight suppression Behavioral weight loss Treatment Obesity Treatment acceptability 



This research was funded by grant R01 DK092374 (to Butryn).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

Christine C. Call, Amani D. Piers, Emily P. Wyckoff, Michael R. Lowe, Evan M. Forman, and Meghan L. Butryn declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Human and animal rights and Informed consent

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards. Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Christine C. Call
    • 1
    Email author
  • Amani D. Piers
    • 1
  • Emily P. Wyckoff
    • 2
  • Michael R. Lowe
    • 1
  • Evan M. Forman
    • 1
  • Meghan L. Butryn
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyDrexel UniversityPhiladelphiaUSA
  2. 2.Department of Psychological SciencesUniversity of ConnecticutStorrsUSA

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