Weight Control: Stages of Change (Short Form)

The stages of change algorithm consists of a brief series of self report questions assessing weight loss intentions and current activities. Individuals are classified into one of four discrete stage categories:

Precontemplation includes those who have no intention of losing or controlling weight in the next six months.

Contemplation includes those who are not actively trying to lose or control weight, but are seriously considering doing so in the next six months. The action stage includes those who are actively trying to lose or control weight or who have successfully done so but for less than six months. The maintenance stage includes those who have successfully maintained their weight loss for at least six months.

In classifying individuals into one of the stages of change, a minimum weight loss criterion is typically established as a goal. For example, O’Connell and Velicer (1988) set a weight loss criterion of at least 10 pounds for their college student sample. Others have used 10% of ideal body weight (Norcross, Prochaska, & DiClemente, 1992; Rossi, Rossi, & Prochaska, 1991). Alternatively, body-mass index or percent overweight, as defined by a standard such as the Metropolitan Life Tables (1983), could be employed.

1.In the past month, have you been actively try to lose weight?Yes / No
2.In the past month, have you been actively trying to keep from gaining weight?Yes / No
3.Are you seriously considering trying to lose weight to reach your goal in the next 6 months?
Yes / No
4.Have you maintained your desired weight for more than 6 months?Yes / No


ActionYes on Q1 or Q2No
MaintenanceYes on Q1 or Q2Yes