National Weight Control Registry

"Today is a good day to get outside and exercise" - Me

We are about a third of the way into the New Year and some of us may have "given up" on that New Year resolution to lose weight. What I propose is that you look at your weight loss effort as a journey. Let's discuss the importance of perseverance and seeing ourselves as "works in progress." When it comes to weight management, there is no miracle drug, diet, or device that will melt away those pounds. It does take effort and willingness to stay the course on your journey one segment at a time.

We often hear that "most people will gain their weight back" so the thinking can be - "why even bother to lose weight in the first place. I am just going to put it all back on anyway." Actually, that does no have to be true. There are people who have lost weight and have been quite successful in maintaining their lost weight.

The National Weight Control Registry (NWCR), established in 1994 by Rena Wing, Ph.D. from Brown Medical School, and James O. Hill, Ph.D. from the University of Colorado, is the largest prospective investigation of long-term successful weight loss maintenance. Given the prevailing belief that few individuals succeed at long-term weight loss, the NWCR was developed to identify and investigate the characteristics of individuals who have succeeded at long-term weight loss. The NWCR is tracking over 5,000 individuals who have lost significant amounts of weight (25-20+ pounds) and kept it off for long periods of time. Detailed questionnaires and annual follow-up surveys are used to examine the behavioral and psychological characteristics of weight maintainers, as well as the strategies they use to maintaining their weight losses.

Some of the characteristics common to most of these people include:

  • Eating breakfast everyday
  • Keeping accurate food records
  • Exercising 60-90 minutes each day
  • Weighing regularly
  • Seeing their healthcare provider on a regular basis

So, for those of you that have lost weight and kept it off, I encourage you to participate in the NWCR. There is no charge to do so and all information is confidential. You have things to share with others and will make a contribution to science. For those of you who are just beginning your weight loss journey or are somewhere on that road, know that the time will come when you may participate in this study.


For further information about the registry visit their website at:

Kathleen Baskett, MD is the Medical Director of Weight Management at St. Vincent Healthcare. She is a graduate of the University of Maryland School of Medicine, and the author of “Moving Forward: The Weigh to a Healthier Weight”.