Demographic and Social-Cognitive Factors Associated with Weight Loss in Overweight, Pre-diabetic Participants of the PREVIEW Study

Sylvia Hansen*, Maija Huttunen-Lenz, Diewertje Sluik, Jennie Brand-Miller, Mathijs Drummen, Mikael Fogelholm, Teodora Handjieva-Darlenska, Ian Macdonald, Alfredo J. Martinez, Thomas Meinert Larsen, Sally Poppitt, Anne Raben, Wolfgang Schlicht

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: Weight loss has been demonstrated to be a successful strategy in diabetes prevention. Although weight loss is greatly influenced by dietary behaviors, social-cognitive factors play an important role in behavioral determination. This study aimed to identify demographic and social-cognitive factors (intention, self-efficacy, outcome expectancies, social support, and motivation with regard to dietary behavior and goal adjustment) associated with weight loss in overweight and obese participants from the PREVIEW study who had pre-diabetes. Method: Prospective correlational data from 1973 adult participants were analyzed. The participants completed psychological questionnaires that assessed social-cognitive variables with regard to dietary behavior. Stepwise multiple regression analyses were performed to identify baseline demographic and social-cognitive factors associated with weight loss. Results: Overall, being male, having a higher baseline BMI, having a higher income, perceiving fewer disadvantages of a healthy diet (outcome expectancies), experiencing less discouragement for healthy eating by family and friends (social support), and lower education were independently linked to greater weight loss. When evaluating females and males separately, education was no longer associated with weight loss. Conclusion: The results indicate that a supportive environment in which family members and friends avoid discouraging healthy eating, with the application of a strategy that uses specific behavior change techniques to emphasize the benefits of outcomes, i.e., the benefits of a healthy diet, may support weight loss efforts. Weight loss programs should therefore always address the social environment of persons who try to lose body weight because family members and friends can be important supporters in reaching a weight loss goal.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)682–692
JournalInternational Journal of Behavioral Medicine
Issue number6
Early online date20 Aug 2018
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2018


  • Behavioral determination
  • Lifestyle intervention
  • Social-cognitive factors
  • Weight loss


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