Translation of a behavioral weight loss intervention for mid-life, low-income women in local health departments

Obesity (Silver Spring). 2013 Sep;21(9):1764-73. doi: 10.1002/oby.20317. Epub 2013 May 24.


Objective: To translate a behavioral weight loss intervention for mid-life, low-income women in real world settings.

Design and methods: In this pragmatic clinical trial, we randomly selected six North Carolina county health departments and trained their current staff to deliver a 16-session evidence-based behavioral weight loss intervention (special intervention, SI). SI weight loss outcomes were compared to a delayed intervention (DI) control group.

Results: Of 432 women expressing interest, 189 completed baseline measures and were randomized within health departments to SI (N = 126) or DI (N = 63). At baseline, average age was 51 years, 53% were African American, mean weight was 100 kg, and BMI averaged 37 kg/m2 . A total of 96 (76%) SI and 55 (87%) DI participants returned for 5-month follow-up measures. The crude weight change was -3.1 kg in the SI and -0.4 kg in the DI group, for a difference of 2.8 kg (95% CI 1.4 to 4.1, p = 0.0001). Diet quality and physical activity improved significantly more in the SI group, and estimated intervention costs were $327 per participant.

Conclusion: This pragmatic short-term weight loss intervention targeted to low-income mid-life women yielded meaningful weight loss when translated to the county health department setting.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Black or African American
  • Body Mass Index
  • Diet* / standards
  • Exercise*
  • Female
  • Health Behavior*
  • Health Promotion
  • Humans
  • Income
  • Middle Aged
  • North Carolina
  • Obesity / therapy*
  • Poverty*
  • Translational Research, Biomedical
  • Weight Loss*
  • Weight Reduction Programs*