Behavioural and psychological pretreatment predictors of short- and long-term weight loss among women with overweight and obesity

  • Rui Jorge
  • Inês SantosEmail author
  • Rita Tomás
  • Marlene N. Silva
  • Eliana V. Carraça
  • Vitor H. Teixeira
  • Pedro J. Teixeira
Original Article



This study aims at identifying behavioural and psychological pretreatment predictors of 12- and 36-month weight loss in women with overweight/obesity enrolled in a behavioural weight management intervention.


A sample of 221 women participated in a randomized controlled trial on weight management (n12 month = 184; n36 month = 156). Multiple linear regressions were used to identify pretreatment predictors of successful weight loss, separately for intervention and control groups. Completers-only and baseline observation carried forward analyses were performed. This study is a secondary analysis of data from the ‘Promotion of Exercise and Health in Obesity’ randomized controlled trial.


Fewer weight loss attempts in the last year positively predicted weight loss at 12 months in the intervention group, explaining 6% of the variance. At 36 months, in the intervention group, 20.2% of the variance in weight change was explained by lower eating disinhibition and higher weight-related quality of life in completers-only analyses, while baseline observation carried forward analyses explained only 9.8% of the variance in weight change via higher self-esteem and lower weight loss expectations. In the control group, higher exercise self-efficacy and a more internal weight locus of control predicted weight loss at 36 months, explaining 13.9% of the variance (completers-only analyses).


Previous weight loss attempts were identified as the most efficient pretreatment predictor of 12-month weight loss. Eating disinhibition, weight-related quality of life, self-esteem, weight loss expectations, exercise self-efficacy, and weight locus of control seem to be key factors for long-term success.

Level of evidence

Level I, randomized controlled trial.

Clinical trial registration identifier NCT00513084.


Weight loss Overweight Obesity Clinical trials Prediction Women 


Author contributions

Rui Jorge and Inês Santos made substantial contributions to the analysis, interpretation of data, and took the lead on drafting and revising the manuscript for important intellectual content; Rita Tomás, Marlene N. Silva, Eliana V. Carraça, Vitor H. Teixeira, and Pedro J. Teixeira were involved in revising the manuscript for important intellectual content. All authors approved the final version of the manuscript.


This study was funded by grants from the Portuguese Science and Technology Foundation (FCT-POCI/DES/57705/2004) and the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation (grant number 65565/2004). The authors are grateful to the Oeiras City Council and Nestlé Portugal for their additional financial support.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

On behalf of all authors, the corresponding author states that there is no conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

All procedures of this study were approved by the Institutional Review Board of the Faculty of Human Kinetics, Technical University of Lisbon and are in accordance with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments.

Informed consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.

Supplementary material

40519_2019_775_MOESM1_ESM.doc (46 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOC 46 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Self-Regulation in Physical Activity, Nutrition and Obesity Research Group (PANO-SR), Interdisciplinary Center for the Study of Human Performance (CIPER), Faculdade de Motricidade HumanaUniversidade de LisboaLisbonPortugal
  2. 2.Centro de Investigação Interdisciplinar Egas Moniz (CiiEM)Instituto Universitário Egas MonizAlmadaPortugal
  3. 3.Unidade de Investigação do Instituto Politécnico de Santarém (UI_IPS)SantarémPortugal
  4. 4.Faculdade de Educação Física e DesportoUniversidade Lusófona de Humanidades e TecnologiasLisboaPortugal
  5. 5.Research Center in Physical Activity, Health and Leisure (CIAFEL), Faculty of SportsUniversity of PortoPortoPortugal
  6. 6.Faculty of Nutrition and Food SciencesUniversity of PortoPortoPortugal

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