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Marilyn Hofer

Document Type

Thesis - University Access Only

Award Date


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department / School

Home Economics

First Advisor

Michael G. Crews


According to the National Center for Health Statistics one-fourth of all Americans are 20% above ideal body weight. Of this group, approximately 8 million are at least 40% above ideal weight. Obese people experience physical, psychological, and social difficulties due to their weight. Obesity increases the risk of many other diseases, including cardiac failure, diabetes, and hypertension. For severely obese people, losing weight and maintaining the loss is especially a challenge. Only 5% of individuals enrolled in weight reduction programs lose more than 40 lbs and few maintain the loss. The Optifast Program is a diet program utilizing a very low-calorie diet as a method for treating severe obesity. The patient's intake is limited to a powdered formula drink. The formula is very low in calories, nutritionally balanced, and contains a high percentage of protein to offset the body's loss of protein due to the restriction of calories. The formula is available by prescription only and the patients are under the care of a doctor, nurse, psychologist, and dietitian. The physical effect a supplemented fast has on its users is of great concern and needs further exploration. The purpose of this study was to determine the effect of a 13 week protein-sparing modified fast on percent body fat/lean, body temperature, and handgrip strength, and to determine whether upper arm, forearm, and calf circumference measurements were well correlated with weight loss. The study also correlated demographic variables to percent of desired weight loss achieved.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Fasting -- Physiological aspects

Reducing diets -- Physiological aspects

Low-protein diet -- Physiological aspects



Number of Pages



South Dakota State University