Benefits of Weight Loss on Physical Function in Older Adults Differ by Sex and Race

We report greater weight loss-associated improvement in short physical performance battery score in women (versus men) and greater gait speed improvement in blacks (versus whites).

WeightControl.com Interview with:
Kristen M. Beavers, PhD, MPH, RD
Associate Professor
Department of Health and Exercise Science
Wake Forest University

WeightControl.com:  What is the background for this study?  What are the main findings?

Response: Consideration of differential treatment effects among subgroups in clinical trial research is a topic of increasing interest. This is an especially salient issue for weight loss trials, as most are over-represented by white women. The question we sought to address is: “Does sex or race moderate the effect of a weight loss intervention on physical function among older adults?”

In this pooled analysis of 1317 individuals participating in eight randomized clinical trials of weight loss — of which 30% were male and 21% were black — we report greater weight loss-associated improvement in short physical performance battery score in women (versus men) and greater gait speed improvement in blacks (versus whites).

WeightControl.com: What should readers take away from your report?

Response: The benefits of weight loss on physical function in older adults differ by sex and race. Results underscore the need to consider relevant biologic variables in clinical research design.

WeightControl.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this work?

Response: We implore the larger research community to help explain the phenomenology presented in this report. Future work seeking to clarify the extent and correlates of inter-individual variability to treatment response in additional scientific domains has major implications for patients, providers, and the larger scientific community. 

Any disclosures: This work was supported by the several grants from the National Institutes of Health, including: P60 AG10484, R01 HL076441, R01 AG020583, R01 AR052528, R01 HL093713, R01 AG018915, P30 AG21332, and R21 AG061344. The funder had no role in the design and conduct of the study; collection, management, analysis, and interpretation of the data; preparation, review, or approval of the manuscript; and decision to submit the manuscript for publication. The authors declared no relevant conflicts of interest

Citation:

Beavers KM, Neiberg RH, Kritchevsky SB, et al. Association of Sex or Race With the Effect of Weight Loss on Physical Function: A Secondary Analysis of 8 Randomized Clinical Trials. JAMA Netw Open. 2020;3(8):e2014631. doi:10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2020.14631

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