Tailored Weight Loss Intervention
The more weight loss programming available, the better equipped we are to combat obesity.
With 2/3 of American adults overweight or obese, effective weight loss interventions are in high demand. We know that carrying extra weight can increases risk for heart disease, yet small reductions in weight – even a 5-10% weight loss – can improve our health. But finding effective programming that helps individuals lose weight and keep it off are not only hard to come by but expensive as well. Fortunately, a recent study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that tailored weight loss interventions may just as effective as standard treatment and could save money, too.
Over 360 overweight and obese adults participated in this study, roughly half of whom were assigned to standard weight loss programming. This standard intervention was most intensive in the first few weeks of treatment, and became less rigorous over time. The other half of individuals participated in a tailored weight loss program implementing a “stepped-care” approach, meaning that the program started out with low intensity and was adjusted over time according to weight loss. For example, for those in the stepped-care approach, if an individual did not meet their weight loss goals by month 3, the intensity of the program would be increased to help motivate them more. Both programs offered periodic group counseling session and promoted a low-calorie diet and increased physical activity. After following both groups of participants for a year and a half, they found that both programs achieved similar weight loss, yet the tailored program cost nearly half of what the standard program cost.
Although adults in the standard weight loss program lost slightly more weight than those in the tailored program, using a stepped-care approach could serve as a good model in the future for weight loss programming. One of the biggest problems with weight loss programming is that it requires a lot of time and money, and is not always successful in the long run. The hope is that by identifying more innovative and affordable programs like the stepped-care weight loss program, more organizations will be able to offer them to the public. And the more weight loss programming available, the better equipped we are to combat obesity and improve the health of America.
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