Changes in body composition over 8 years in a randomized trial of a lifestyle intervention: The look AHEAD study

Henry J. Pownall, George A. Bray, Lynne E. Wagenknecht, Michael P. Walkup, Stanley Heshka, Van S. Hubbard, James Hill, Steven E. Kahn, David M. Nathan, Anne V. Schwartz, Karen C. Johnson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

48 Scopus citations


Objective To determine the effects of an intensive lifestyle intervention versus a comparison group on body composition in obese or overweight persons with type 2 diabetes at baseline and at 1, 4, and 8 years. Methods Body composition was measured by dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry in a subset of 1019 Look AHEAD study volunteers randomized to intervention or comparison groups. The intervention was designed to achieve and maintain ≥7% weight loss through increased physical activity and reduced caloric intake. The comparison group received social support and diabetes education. Results At 1 year, the intervention group lost fat (5.6 ± 0.2 kg) and lean mass (2.3 ± 0.1 kg) but regained fat (∼100%) and lost lean mass between years 1 and 8. Between baseline and year 8, weight loss was greater in intervention versus comparison groups (4.0 ± 0.4 vs. 2.3 ± 0.4 kg); comparison group weight loss was mostly lean mass (2.1 ± 0.17 kg). Fat mass in the intervention group was lower than that of the comparison group at all post-baseline time points. Conclusions Reduced fat mass may place the intervention group at a lower risk of obesity-linked sequelae, a hypothesis that can be tested by future studies of this cohort.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)565-572
Number of pages8
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1 2015

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Endocrinology
  • Nutrition and Dietetics


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