The NIH News in Health
skip navigation
Health Capsules
May 2008
(PDF—425 kb)  
Keeping Off Lost Weight

Losing weight can be a struggle. But keeping it off can feel like a losing battle. Now a new study suggests that monthly personal counseling—usually less than 15 minutes by phone—can help. A web-based program also helped some people keep lost pounds at bay.

Excess weight is the nation’s second-leading cause of preventable death. Extra pounds can lead to diabetes, high cholesterol and high blood pressure—all risk factors for cardiovascular disease. Weight loss can reduce these risks, but keeping that lost weight off is rarely easy.

NIH-funded researchers compared the success rates of 3 relatively low-cost approaches to maintaining weight loss. They studied over 1,000 adults who had lost an average of about 19 pounds. Each person was randomly assigned to take 1 of 3 approaches to maintaining their weight loss.

One group had monthly personal counseling on diet and physical activity. People in the second group used an interactive web-based program that provided similar information. Those in the third group—the “self-directed maintenance” group—were mostly left on their own.

By the end of the 2.5-year study, people who had personal counseling still had an average weight loss of 9.2 pounds. The web group kept off an average of 7.3 pounds, and the self-directed group 6.4 pounds.

“Most people in the study regained at least some of the weight they initially lost,” says lead scientist Dr. Laura Svetkey of Duke University. “However, both the personal counseling and the web-based program modestly alleviated weight re-gain for up to 2 years. Personal counseling ultimately proved to be the most beneficial by the end of the 2.5-year study.”

Even minor weight loss can have significant health benefits, the researchers say.

Definitions iconDefinitions

The system of heart and vessels that circulates blood throughout the body.

Links iconWeb Sites

Winning at Losing:  How to Keep that Weight Off

Overweight and Obesity

  Older Corneas Can Make Good Transplants

Each year, thousands of people have their eyesight saved by cornea transplants. To make sure that these transplanted corneas are healthy, eye banks usually require that donated corneas come from people in good health and no older than 65. But now a new study suggests that corneas from people as old as 75 can transplant as well as younger ones.

The cornea is a clear dome-shaped surface that covers and protects the front of the eye. When it becomes damaged or cloudy due to sickness or injury, it may need to be replaced with a donated cornea to help restore vision. Each year more than 33,000 cornea transplant surgeries are performed nationwide. Eye banks have generally had enough donated corneas to meet demand. But some health officials worry about a shortage of corneas in the future.

To see if older corneas might also make good transplants, NIH-funded scientists looked at more than 1,000 people who had cornea disease and needed transplants. Some of the donated corneas came from people who were between 12 and 65 years old. Others came from donors who were ages 66 to 75.

Five years after surgery, the researchers found that the success rates were the same—86%—for corneas from younger and older donors. If eye banks were to accept these older donated corneas, the donor pool could grow by as much as 20-35%, the scientists estimate.

Links iconWeb Sites

Organ Donation

National Eye Institute


Links iconFeatured Web Site

Gear Up!

As part of Healthy Vision Month in May, NIH is encouraging kids to Gear Up and use protective eyewear. Eye injuries are the leading cause of blindness for children in the U.S. Protective eyewear can prevent 9 of 10 sports-related eye injuries. Learn practical tips for keeping eyes safe while having fun this summer.

to top    
NIH logo National Institutes of Health (NIH)
9000 Rockville Pike
Bethesda, Maryland 20892
DHHS logo Department of Health and
Human Services
  Office of Communications and
Public Liaison