Determinants of weight loss maintenance: a systematic review

R. D.M. Varkevisser, M. M. van Stralen*, W. Kroeze, J. C.F. Ket, I. H.M. Steenhuis

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalReview articleAcademicpeer-review


BACKGROUND: Discerning the determinants of weight loss maintenance is important in the planning of future interventions and policies regarding overweight and obesity. We have therefore systematically synthesized recent literature on determinants of weight loss maintenance for individuals with overweight and obesity.

METHODS: With the use of the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses statement, prospective studies were identified from searches in PubMed and PsycINFO from 2006 to 2016. We included articles investigating adults with overweight and obesity undergoing weight loss without surgery or medication. Included articles were scored on their methodological quality, and a best-evidence synthesis was applied to summarize the results.

RESULTS: Our search resulted in 8,222 articles of which 67 articles were selected. In total, 124 determinants were identified of which 5 were demographic, 59 were behavioural, 51 were psychological/cognitive and 9 were social and physical environmental determinants. We found consistent evidence that demographic determinants were not predictive of weight loss maintenance. Behavioural and cognitive determinants that promote a reduction in energy intake, an increase in energy expenditure and monitoring of this balance are predictive determinants.

CONCLUSION: This review identifies key determinants in weight loss maintenance. However, more research regarding cognitive and environmental determinants of weight loss maintenance is needed to advance our knowledge on determinants of weight loss maintenance.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)171-211
Number of pages41
JournalObesity reviews
Issue number2
Early online date16 Oct 2018
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2019


The contribution of MS is supported by the Innovational Research Incentives Scheme Veni from Nederlandse Organisatie voor Wetenschappelijk Onderzoek (Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research – Division for the Social Sciences) project number 451-16-018.

FundersFunder number
Division for the Social Sciences451-16-018
Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research ?
Nederlandse Organisatie voor Wetenschappelijk Onderzoek


    • Obesity
    • overweight
    • predictors
    • weight loss maintenance
    • weight management
    • weight regain


    Dive into the research topics of 'Determinants of weight loss maintenance: a systematic review'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

    Cite this