Changes in Healthcare Utilization After Lifestyle Intervention for Weight Loss

Am J Prev Med. 2024 Apr;66(4):619-626. doi: 10.1016/j.amepre.2023.10.018. Epub 2023 Oct 29.


Introduction: This study evaluates the real-world impact of a lifestyle change program (LCP) on healthcare utilization in a large health system.

Methods: Using electronic health record data from a large health system in northern California, U.S., LCP participant and propensity-score-matched nonparticipant outcomes were compared in the second year post-participation: (1) overall healthcare utilization and (2) utilization and medications related to cardiometabolic conditions and obesity. Adult LCP participants between 2010 and 2017 were identified and matched 1:1 with replacement to comparable nonparticipants. Participants without electronic health record activity in the 12-36 months before baseline, or with conditions or procedures associated with substantial weight change, were excluded. Statistical analysis and modeling were performed in 2021-22.

Results: Compared to matched nonparticipants, LCP participants in the 12-24 months post-baseline were more likely to have specialty-care visits (+4.7%, 95% CI +1.8%, +7.6%), electronic communications (8.6%, 95% CI +5.6%, +11.7%), and urgent-care visits (+6.5%, 95% CI +3.0%, 10.0%). Participants also had more office visits for cardiometabolic conditions and obesity (+1.72 visits/patient, 95% CI +1.05, +2.39).

Conclusions: Compared with matched nonparticipants, LCP participation was associated with higher utilization of outpatient services post-participation. Additional research could assess whether this indicates an increase in preventive care that could lead to improved future outcomes.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cardiovascular Diseases*
  • Humans
  • Life Style*
  • Obesity / prevention & control
  • Patient Acceptance of Health Care
  • Weight Loss