Objective: To determine whether a tailored weight management program, addressing the needs of obese, low-income African-American women, would produce greater weight loss than standard medical care.
Research methods and procedures: A randomized, controlled trial was conducted between 1999 and 2003 with 144 overweight or obese women (predominantly African-American) enrolled at two primary care clinics. Four physicians at each clinic were randomly assigned to provide either tailored weight management interventions or standard care. The tailored condition consisted of six monthly outpatient visits lasting approximately 15 minutes each, which included personalized materials and messages. The main outcome was body weight change.
Results: The intervention group lost more weight than the standard care group (p = 0.03). The tailored group lost a mean (standard deviation) of 2.0 (3.2) kg by Month 6. The standard care group gained 0.2 (2.9) kg. More participants in the tailored group lost weight (79% vs. 47%; p = 0.04).
Discussion: Obese, low-income, African-American women provided with 90 minutes of physician-delivered, tailored weight management instruction over 6 months achieved greater weight loss than those receiving standard medical care. The primary care physician can be effective in delivering weight loss interventions, and the primary care clinic may be a useful setting to implement weight management interventions.