Research: Weight loss leads to higher quality of life.


Weight loss results in both short and long-term increases in health-related quality of life.

Obese couple in swimsuits

An obese couple in swimsuits

Obesity is a worldwide public health issue. Most Americans have a weight challenge, and many have given up because they feel that it is not worth the effort.  Many feel that weight loss will result in a lower quality fo life because they will have to give up the foods they love.   The prevalence of obesity has been increasing for decades, and this is largely due to lifestyle changes.  Obesity leads to several chronic diseases.  Because there has been a tied to many illnesses including diabetes type 2, it has been coined diabesity.  The impact of obesity on physical health is well understood, and the impact of disease caused by obesity can affect the quality of life.    

A recent study aimed to look at the impact of weight loss on the quality of life[1].  The study was to determine if body weight-loss could improve health-related quality of life.  It was published in the Journal of Obesity.  The study was performed to confirm whether this poor quality of life could be improved through body weight loss. In particular, the objective of this study was to determine the effects of weight loss and weight loss maintenance on weight-specific health-related quality of life in a 66-week trial. The subjects of the study were 137 adults with obesity who had lost ≥ 5% of initial weight in a 14-week intensive lifestyle intervention that included a low-calorie diet program.  The subjects were randomly assigned to lorcaserin or placebo for an additional 52-week weight loss maintenance program.  The Impact of Weight on Quality of Life scale, Patient Health Questionnaire-9, and Perceived Stress Scales was administered at the start of the 14-week low-calorie diet program.  Improvements in all outcomes were found following the 14-week low-calorie diet program.  Improvements were largely maintained during the 52-week randomized controlled trial, despite weight regain of 2.0 to 2.5 kg across treatment groups.  Improvements in weight-specific health-related quality of life were achieved with moderate weight loss and were sustained during WLM.

More research has shown a higher quality fo life after weight loss[2],[3],[4].  Based on the research, it appears clear that weight loss increases your quality of life, but I would suspect that depends on what you value.  

The bottom line: Improvements in weight-specific health-related quality of life were achieved with moderate weight loss and were sustained during weight loss maintenance.  This study, along with the prior studies, show promise and I would recommend weight loss as a mean to improve quality of life.  More research is needed.  


R. L. Pearl et al., “Short- and Long-Term Changes in Health-Related Quality of Life with Weight Loss: Results from a Randomized Controlled Trial,” O, Apr. 2018 [Online]. Available: 10.1002/oby.22187″ target=”_blank” rel=”noopener noreferrer”>
A. E. Rothberg et al., “The impact of weight loss on health-related quality-of-life: implications for cost-effectiveness analyses,” Q, vol. 23, no. 4, pp. 1371–1376, Oct. 2013 [Online]. Available: 10.1007/s11136-013-0557-8″ target=”_blank” rel=”noopener noreferrer”>
H.-J. Pan, B. M. Cole, and A. Geliebter, “The benefits of body weight loss on health-related quality of life,” J, vol. 74, no. 4, pp. 169–175, Apr. 2011 [Online]. Available: 10.1016/j.jcma.2011.01.038″ target=”_blank” rel=”noopener noreferrer”>
A. Elbe, P. Elsborg, S. Dandanell, and J. Helge, “Correlates and predictors of obesity-specific quality of life of former participants of a residential intensive lifestyle intervention.,” Obes Sci Pract, vol. 4, no. 2, pp. 188–193, Mar. 2018. [PubMed]
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About the Author

I am a family physician who has served in the US Army. In 2016, I found myself overweight, out of shape, and unhealthy, so I made a change to improve my health. This blog is the chronology of my path to better health and what I have learned along the way.

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