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Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

Interventions for lifestyle changes to promote weight reduction, a randomized controlled trial in primary health care

Stefan PO Jansson12*, Peter Engfeldt1, Anders Magnuson4, Georg Lohse PT2 and Göran Liljegren23

Author Affiliations

1 Family Medicine Research Centre, Örebro County Council, School of Health and Medical Sciences, Örebro University, Box 1613, Örebro, 701 16, Sweden

2 Centre for Assessment of Medical Technology in Örebro (CAMTÖ), Örebro, Sweden

3 Department of Surgery, University Hospital, Örebro, Sweden

4 Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics Unit, Örebro University Hospital, Örebro, Sweden

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BMC Research Notes 2013, 6:213  doi:10.1186/1756-0500-6-213

Published: 27 May 2013



Overweight and obesity are growing public health problems in high income countries and is now growing at a dramatic pace in low and middle income countries, particularly in urban settings. The aim of this trial was to examine the effects of a weight reduction program in adults and to determine whether or not a more extensive intervention was superior to ordinary care.


Patients seeking advice for overweight/obesity or illness related to overweight/obesity at eight primary health care centers in Sweden were randomized either to intervention or control care groups with both groups given dietary advice and individualized information on increased regular physical activity. In the intervention group advice was more extensive and follow-up more frequent than in the control group during the study period of two years. Main outcome measure was reduction in body weight of five percent or more from study start.


From October 2004 to April 2006, 133 patients, 67 in the intervention group and 66 in the control group, were randomized over a period of 18 months. Target weight was achieved at 12 months by 26.7% of the patients in the intervention group compared with 18.4% in the control group (p = 0.335). There was an average absolute weight loss of 2.5 kg in the intervention group and 0.8 kg in the control group at 12 months as compared with the weight at study entry. There were no significant differences between the groups in quality of life, blood glucose and lipids. At 24 months target weight was achieved in 21.9% versus 15.6%, with an average weight reduction of 1.9 kg and 1.2 kg in the two groups, respectively.


Promotion of a diet with limited energy intake, appropriate composition of food and increased physical activity had limited effects on body weight in a Swedish primary care setting. More extensive advice and more frequent visits made no significant difference to the outcome.

Trial registration NCT01606917

Lifestyle changes; Obesity; Weight reduction; Family practice