Completed Obesity Intervention Research

Healthy Homes Healthy Kids: Pediatric Primary Care-Based Obesity Prevention
Investigators:  Nancy Sherwood (PI), Robert Jeffery
Funding Agency:  NIH/NHLBI
The National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute funded a 5-year grant through the HealthPartners Institute for Education and Research. The “Healthy Homes Healthy Kids: Pediatric Primary Care Based Obesity Prevention” grant evaluated the efficacy of a relatively low-cost obesity prevention intervention in at-risk children between 5 and 9 years of age. The long-range goal of the trial was to develop an intervention program for addressing behavioral contributors to children’s health and illness in medical care settings which can be widely utilized across a variety of settings; is acceptable to health care providers, parents and children; and will have the effect of reducing health risk factors in families and health care delivery costs.

New Moves: Obesity Prevention Among Adolescent Girls
 Dianne Neumark-Sztainer, Mary T. Story
Funding Agency: NIH/NIDDK
New Moves was a school-based program designed to promote increased physical activity, healthy eating behaviors, and a positive self-image among sedentary adolescent girls at risk for overweight. It was offered to high-school girls for credit during school hours as an alternative to the regular physical education program. The program included physical activity, nutritional guidance, social support, individual counseling, and maintenance components. Social Cognitive Theory was used to guide the program development, implementation, and evaluation. The intervention focused on modifying personal, socio-environmental, and behavioral factors.

Novel Approaches to Weight Loss Maintenance
 Nancy Sherwood (PI), Robert W. Jeffery
Funding Agency: NCI/HealthPartners Prime
This research was innovative because it targeted individuals who had recently lost weight and evaluated a novel intervention to enhance weight maintenance including core behavioral messages followed by “just in time” intervention delivery in response to small weigh gains. Results provided important information on the effectiveness of a new weight loss maintenance intervention that could potentially be widely disseminated.

Randomized Clinical Trial of a Weight Loss Program in Type 2 Diabetes (Take Charge)
Investigators: Nancy Sherwood (PI), Cheryl Rock (PI-Prime)
Funding Agency: Jenny Craig, Incorporated/University of California-San Diego (Prime)
Nancy Sherwood (HealthPartners Institute for Education and Research) received a 2-year subcontract from the University of California-San Diego for a multicenter, randomized clinical research study. The goal of the study was to investigate whether participation in a commercial weight loss program promoted greater weight loss at one year in overweight individuals with type 2 diabetes compared to a usual care condition.

Environmental Interventions to Prevent Weight Gain Prevention (HealthWorks)
 Robert W. Jeffery (PI), Jennifer A. Linde, Simone French, Lisa Harnack
Funding Agency: NIH/NIDDK
Obesity is a rapidly growing health problem in the US for which neither effective treatment nor preventive measures are currently available. It is now widely accepted that environmental factors that encourage eating and discourage physical activity are important contributors to the problem, and it has been suggested that environmental interventions may be needed to achieve reductions in population obesity. The study assessed the efficacy of a multi-component environmental intervention in preventing weight gain among working adults with various interventions taking place at the workplace. It was hypothesized that employees in intervention worksites would decrease energy intake, increase energy expenditure, and reduce weight gain compared to those in comparison sites over two years. It was anticipated that the effects of the intervention on behavior and weight would be related to degree of exposure to intervention activities.

Maintenance-Tailored Obesity Treatment (LIFE)
 Robert W. Jeffery (PI), Andrew Flood
Funding Agency: NIH National Institute of Diabetes & Digestive & Kidney Diseases (NIDDK)
Recent dramatic increases in prevalence have made obesity the number one nutritional problem in the US. Of particular concern is the fact that, although available treatments are effective in producing clinically significant weight loss, their ability to sustain weight loss long term is poor. The project was based on a conceptual analysis of this problem that argues for greater attention to two issues related to the temporal dynamics of the challenge of long-term weight control. These are: 1) the environment is continually changing and is not supportive of weight control and 2) the intervention methods that are effective in inducing short-term changes in behaviors and weight often lose their potency over time because of habituation. Obese men and women were randomized to either standard behavior therapy (SBT) or to a maintenance-tailored treatment (MTT) for 18 months, followed by 12 months of no-treatment follow-up. It was hypothesized that weight losses in the MTT group would be better than those in the SBT group, show better compliance to behavioral assignments, express more enjoyment and awareness of the treatment process, and have higher efficacy expectations in regard to handling future challenges to weight control.

Food, Attitudes and Body (FAB) Study
Investigators: Nancy Sherwood (PI), Cheryl Rock (PI-Prime)
Funding Agency: Jenny Craig, Incorporated/University of California-San Diego (Prime)
Previous studies have suggested that commercial weight-loss programs can promote modest, but clinically significant, weight loss. One such program, Jenny Craig, incorporates several specific features that have independently been shown to be useful in promoting weight loss including individualized counseling, a low-calorie diet, prepackaged foods, and increased physical activity. Nancy Sherwood, PhD, through a subcontract to the University of California-San Diego, conducted a 3-year multicenter, randomized, clinical research trial funded by Jenny Craig, Inc. The “Food, Attitudes, and Body” study examined whether this particular commercial program was effective in helping people to lose weight and maintain that weight loss for two years.

Diabetes Surgery Study (DSS)
Funding Agency: Covidian
Investigators: Sayeed Ikramuddin (PI), Robert Jeffery, John Connett, Charles Billington, John Bantle
This project was a global randomized study of best medical management versus the roux en y gastric bypass for the management of type 2 diabetes mellitus in patients with central obesity.

Transdisciplinary Research on Energetics and Cancer (TREC): Examining the Obesity Epidemic through Youth, Family, and Young Adults
Investigators: Robert Jeffery (PI) , Leslie Lytle, Mindy Kurzer, Simone French, Eileen Harwood

Funding Agency: NIH/NCI
The purpose of this center was to conduct transdisciplinary research, training, and outreach on obesity and cancer in youth, family, and young adults. The Center addressed questions about the etiology, prevention, and treatment of obesity in youth and families, and explored biological pathways that may link obesity to cancer.

Fast Food Meals Study
Investigators:  Simone French, Robert Jeffery, Michael Oakes, Mary Story
Funding Agency: NIH/NIDDK
The aim of this study was to examine the effect of nutrition labeling and value size pricing on fast food menu choices.

Ready, Set, ACTION!: A Theater-Based Obesity Prevention Program for Children
: Dianne Neumark-Sztainer
Funding Agency: NIH/NIDDK
School-based interventions have great potential to reach children from ethnically diverse, low-income backgrounds who are at high risk for obesity. However, parents provide a major source of influence for their children, and empirical findings suggest that family level participation in school-based interventions is typically low. Results from formative work show that a good way to reach out to parents is by inviting them to a performance by their children. The primary aim of this study was to examine the feasibility of an innovative theater program, Ready. Set. ACTION!, that reached out to children and parents. Intervention messages are based on the children’s own experiences and thus personally and culturally relevant to children and their parents. The after-school program ran for a 12-week period and reached out to parents through home food and fitness packs, home challenge activities, healthy eating opportunities, and a play performance. The intensive portion of the program was followed by booster sessions in which children further enhance their skills as agents of change. Results from this study provided insight into how to engage parents in school-based interventions.