Background

Obesity has long been acknowledged as one of the most harmful diseases causing long-term health issues. This study sought to characterize baseline attributes associated with the completion of a multidisciplinary medically supervised weight loss intervention among obese employees of a community hospital in Arizona. The additional goal was to determine pre-treatment characteristics that predicted attrition (dropout) from the six-month intervention program.

Methods

A total of 44 overweight and obese community hospital employees [body mass index (BMI) 38.2 ± 5.6 kg/m2 (range = 30.0 - 49.8)] participated in a six-month medical weight loss intervention designed to assist employees in adopting healthy lifestyle practices to increase their well-being and decrease comorbidities. Clinical factors, behavioral influences, and demographic characteristics were assessed for potential predictive capacities for completion or primary/secondary attrition from the program.

Results

Logistic regression indicated associations between program attrition and an increase in baseline systolic blood pressure (odds ratio [OR] = 1.22, 95% CI: 1.04-1.42) and decreased compliance with eating three meals per day (OR = 0.91, 95% CI: 0.84-0.97). Primary attrition (dropout < 3 months) was associated with an increase in baseline systolic blood pressure (OR = 1.12, 95% CI: 1.02-1.24) and decreased compliance with eating three meals per day (OR = 0.93, 95% CI: 0.88-0.98). Secondary attrition (dropout between 3-6 months) was related to decreased compliance with eating three meals per day (OR = 0.94, 95% CI: 0.88-1.00) and an increase in weight loss expectations during the intervention (OR = 1.08, 95% CI: 1.00-1.15).

Conclusions

Systolic blood pressure is a predictive factor that can be objectively measured for attrition, especially early dropout. Compliance with eating three meals per day and weight loss expectations are valid behavioral indicators of participation in a weight loss program.