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Primary care-based weight intervention helps obese patients reduce weight
Date:11/14/2011

PHILADELPHIA Can a visit to your primary care doctor help you lose weight? Primary care physicians, working with medical assistants in their practices, helped one group of their obese patients lose an average of 10.1 lb during a two-year lifestyle intervention, according to a new study by researchers from the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. Their 10 lb weight loss was associated, over the two years, with improvements in cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk factors, including waist circumference and HDL cholesterol levels. The results of the POWER-UP (Practice-based Opportunities for Weight Reduction at the University of Pennsylvania) trial were reported in the latest edition of the New England Journal of Medicine and at the American Heart Association annual meeting today.

"The enhanced lifestyle counseling program offers a successful model for treating obesity in primary care practice with the support of regular staff members primary care providers (PCPs) and medical assistants," said POWER-UP principal investigator Thomas A. Wadden, PhD, professor of Psychology in Psychiatry at Penn's Perelman School of Medicine and director of the Penn Center for Weight and Eating Disorders. "This is an important finding, in light of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services' recent proposal to cover the costs of intensive behavioral weight loss counseling provided to seniors in primary care practice by physicians and nurse practitioners," Dr. Wadden added.

The study compared three interventions - usual care (which consisted of quarterly PCP visits alone), brief lifestyle counseling (which included quarterly PCP visits plus brief, monthly weight loss visits with a medical assistant), and enhanced brief lifestyle counseling which added options for using readily-available meal replacements or a weight loss medication. The majority of participants chose to use meal replacements.

Of the 390 participants, who ha
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Contact: Kim Menard
kim.menard@uphs.upenn.edu
215-662-6183
University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine
Source:Eurekalert

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