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Many see 'meaningful' weight loss from 12-week online course

August. Feb. 2, 2022 — People lost a “clinically meaningful” percentage 12 weeks after launching a fully automated online program developed by Brown University researchers.

Primary care physicians offer free obesity treatment during routine care procedures. Every week, people report weight changes, activity, and calorie consumption; take online classes; and receive personalized feedback.

The 464 people who participated for at least 1 week lost an average of 5% of their body weight. And those who followed the plan for the full 12 weeks lost an average of 7%.

The researchers noted that this short-term weight loss was achieved without any face-to-face counseling, which can limit weight management in busy primary care settings.

“Obesity is a highly stigmatized disease,” said lead researcher J. Graham Thomas, Ph.D.

People participate in the Rx weight loss program in the privacy of their own homes. Not only does it make it more convenient, he says, but it could be an advantage for those who don’t feel comfortable with weight control around others.

Ideally, a healthcare provider would Offer online programs, “instead of being punitive,” said Thomas, a researcher at the Center for Weight Management and Diabetes Research at Miriam Hospital in Providence, Rhode Island.

The study was published online July 27 in the journal Obesity*).

In three previous controlled clinical trials led by the same research team, weight loss programs were associated with an average weight loss of 4.2% to 5.8%. In the current study, the researchers were not directly involved, and Thomas said he was pleased to see a physician-led program leading to similar results.

About 11 pounds

Physicians at Rhode Island Elementary School provide patients with the program during routine care Care Physicians Corporation, which includes 100 physicians at 60 sites. To qualify, people must be between the ages of 18 and 75, have internet access, be fluent in English, and have a body mass index (BMI) of 25 kilograms per square meter (kg/m2) or higher.

The mean age of the study subjects was 53 years, 70% were female, and the mean BMI was 36.2.

people with a BMI of 25 or more are overweight, while those with a BMI of 30 or higher are considered obese.

An average weight loss of 5.1% at 12 weeks translated into an average weight loss of over 11 lbs.

‘Very inspiring’

The findings were “very encouraging,” said Dr. Gareth R. Dutton, who was not involved in the study.

Previous strategies had limitations, he said.

“Automated interventions with no staff-participant contact at all often result in modest weight loss,” said Dutton, a professor of medicine and researcher at Nutrition O’s Besity Research Center at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.

Weight loss programs recommended by primary care physicians tend to be less effective, he said.

“Due to many barriers, including limited resources and time, delivery through primary care weight loss interventions are challenging,” said Dutton, who was also the principal investigator of a study enrolling 400 primary care patients to compare daily self-weighing with standard care.

There is huge potential for physicians and their staff to refer patients to evidence-based weight loss programs, he said.

Want to increase intake

Rx Weight Loss provided this to 1,721 primary care patients in total program.

When asked why only 26 percent of people agreed to participate in the program, Thomas replied: “No matter how good the program is, it’s just never going to be a lot of people take it The right time to add to their lives, in part especially given the many challenges and a lot of stress people have been going through the past few years. “

“Despite it being an online program, tackling obesity will always require major changes in diet and activity patterns,” he said.


Investigators plan to study to get more people involved The program’s approach.

It’s not yet widely available to others, but that’s the goal. Thomas said they learned during the research to make the fully automated online program more accessible to others The method used.

Measuring any effect on weight loss at 1 year was the primary purpose of the study. Thomas said: “I think we wanted to find Something similar to what we’ve seen in previous studies where some amount of weight regain at 1 year would be the norm”.

” but some amount of weight loss and associated The health benefits will persist, even if on average return gradually, which is worth it. “



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