Researchers at Duke University have attempted a new approach to prevent the growth of obesity and the heath problems that accompany obesity in the largest at risk population in the United States that has seen little if any significant weight loss during the United States 20 year “war on obesity”. The research was reported in the Aug. 26, 2013, issue of the journal JAMA Internal Medicine.
The scientists predicated their research on the fact that black women have the lowest success rate in losing weight compared to black men, white men, or white women. Black women have twice the rate of moderate obesity and three times the rate of extreme obesity compared to white women.
The study group of 197 over weight black women were divided into two treatment options. One group received standard weight loss and exercise training designed to produce a loss of weight. The other group received personalized weight gain prevention program called the Shape Program developed at Duke. The Shape Program included a one-year gym membership, individually tailored training, monthly counseling, and a weekly self-monitoring through automated phone calls.
At the beginning of the trial the average weight of the women was 179 pounds and the average body mass index (BMI) was 30.2.
After one year, the normal care group had gained an average of one pound and the Shape Program group had lost two pounds. No difference was seen between treatment groups in change in waist circumference, blood pressure, blood pressure control, glucose levels, or lipid levels at any time point.
The objective of the study was to find a method of prevention of weight gain that worked for black women. The idea that additional weight gain would lead to further health complications in later life was the basis for the experimental model.