Objectives: To determine the feasibility of a 3-month weight loss program for obese older women with short-term laboratory, performance, functional, and life quality outcomes.
Research methods and procedures: This was a pre- and postintervention design. Community-dwelling women (n = 26) > or =60 years old with BMI > or =30 were enrolled in a 3-month weight loss program promoting prudent diet, behavior modification, and physical activity. The primary emphasis of the program was on health, function, and quality of life. The approach was specifically tailored to older subjects through use of large-font instructional materials, supplementation of calcium and vitamin D, and moderate weight loss and physical activity goals. An initial assessment by a bariatric physician was followed by eight visits with a dietitian and a follow-up physician visit. Measurements included anthropometrics, body composition, laboratories, pedometer, physical performance, Short-Form 36 Health Status Survey (SF-36), Life Space Assessment, and dietary assessment.
Results: Eighteen participants completed the program. There was a significant decrease in mean body weight (100 +/- 15 vs. 96 +/- 18 kg, p = 0.006), with a mean weight loss of 4.3 +/- 5.5 kg (range -15.5 to +7.20 kg). Significant improvements were observed for diastolic blood pressure, total cholesterol, triglycerides, physical performance, pedometer-measured step counts, and step climb and descent. Self-rated physical functioning (SF-36 subscore) and vitality (SF-36 subscore) were also significantly improved.
Discussion: It is feasible for self-selected obese older women to achieve a moderate weight loss and increase in physical activity resulting in short-term improvements in laboratory, physical performance, self-reported function, vitality, and life quality outcomes.