Personalized Coupons, Recipes and Education Helped Shoppers Make Healthier Food Purchases

we are interested in scaling this work so it can reach more US adults and help them improve their diet quality and diet-related health.

WeightControl.com Interview with:
Maya Vadiveloo, PhD, RD
Assistant Professor
Nutrition and Food Sciences
University of Rhode Island

Dr.  Vadiveloo

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

Response: We conducted this study with the goal of helping people make healthier dietary choices while at the grocery store. We know that food companies use personalized messages and discounts that prompt people to buy unhealthy foods. We tested whether similar approaches could be used to encourage people to buy healthier foods by sending people 2 personalized, healthy food coupons each week to make these foods more affordable. We also wanted our recommendations to reflect people’s dietary preferences, so we only sent people coupons that aligned with preferences they told us at the beginning of the study .

The coupons were directly linked to people’s loyalty cards and they also received a brief nutrition message and recipe via email every week.

Overall, we found that people liked the personalized healthy food incentives, that it prompted them to purchase more healthy foods, and improved the overall diet quality of their grocery purchases.

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Lockdown Effects of Obesity During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Our research suggests that we have to look beyond the direct effect of COVID-19 and mortality, and need to consider the medium- and long-term effects on non-COVID diseases such as diabetes.

WeightControl.com Interview with:
Dr Amitava Banerjee MA MPH DPhil FHEA FAHA FESC FRCP FRCP (Ed) FFCI
Associate Professor in Clinical Data Science and Honorary Consultant Cardiologist
Institute of Health Informatics, University College London
 Adjunct Associate Professor in Public Health
Amrita Institute of Medical Sciences, Kochi, India

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

Response: Severe obesity was on the UK government’s list of moderate risk conditions for severe COVID-19 on 16 March 2020(1), with increased importance for social distancing and other measures.  Obesity is in itself a risk factor for chronic diseases, including diabetes and cardiovascular disease, which themselves increase the risk of severe COVID-19. We aimed to project the number of excess deaths in severely obese individuals. In addition, the lockdown can lead to prolonged periods of inactivity and weight gain, which could lead to increased burden of chronic diseases, particularly diabetes and cardiovascular diseases. To provide these projections, we used national electronic health records representative of the UK population.

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Successful Weight Loss Counseling with Both In-Clinic and Remote Primary Care Visits

Primary healthcare, even in under-resources rural settings, has the capacity to offer effective weight loss counseling through different types of patient visits

WeightControl.com Interview with:
Christie A. Befort, Ph.D., Professor

Associate Director, Cancer Prevention and Control
Co-Leader, Cancer Control and Population Health Program
KU Cancer Center

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

Response: Primary care clinics are an important place for patients to get help with weight loss, especially for those who are at risk from obesity-related health complications or who have other medical conditions that may make weight loss more difficult.  This is especially true in remote rural areas where obesity prevalence is higher and there is less access to effective programs.

WeightControl.com: What are the main findings?

Response: Rural primary care clinics are able to offer weight loss counseling to their patients with clinically meaningful long-term weight loss after 2 years for approximately 2 out of 5 patients.  In-clinic group visits have a small advantage over in-clinic individual visits for weight loss outcomes.

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Intellihealth: Population Health Guidelines + Online Support Improves Weight Loss

Even small amounts of weight loss, even 3%-5% of body weight, can provide significant health benefits to individuals with overweight and obesity.

WeightControl.com Interview with:
Dr. Louis Aronne, MD, FACP
Chief Medical Officer, Intellihealth
Medical Director, Comprehensive Weight Control Center,
Weill Cornell Medicine

Dr. Louis Aronne

WeightControl.com:  What is the background for the study “Effect of an Online Weight Management Program Integrated With Population Health Management on Weight Change: A Randomized Clinical Trial”?

Response: More than 70% of U.S. adults have overweight or obesity. Online programs promoting lifestyle change have had some success in helping people achieve and maintain weight loss, but study results have been variable, and these programs have not been widely implemented in primary care. We studied the effectiveness of an online program we have developed (Intellihealth, formerly known as BMIQ) in routine primary care practices, both alone and integrated with population health management (with participants receiving additional support and outreach from nonclinical staff). The study’s objective was to determine whether a combined intervention integrating online weight management with population health management would increase weight loss at 12 months among primary care patients compared with the online program only and usual care.

The study, funded through an award from the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI), was carried out as a cluster randomized trial with 840 patients within the Brigham and Women’s Hospital Primary Care Center of Excellence, a group of 15 primary care practices, between 2016 and 2019. Eligible participants had a scheduled primary care visit and were aged 20 to 70 years, had a body mass index between 27 and less than 40, and had a diagnosis of hypertension or type 2 diabetes.

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Experimental Antibiotic May Boost Metabolism and Mitigate Obesity

No clinical trial has been conducted to prove this concept in humans just yet, current fluoroquinolones are not to be used for weight control at this point.

WeightControl.com Interview with:
Dr. Marcelo Alves da Silva Mori PhD
Professor,University of Campinas 

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

Response: microRNAs are small non-coding RNAs that play important roles in gene expression regulation. Aging and obesity leads to dysfunction of microRNA processing in adipose tissue, which in turn impairs the thermogenic capacity of brown fat and results in insulin resistance. Enoxacin is a small molecule fluoroquinolone that promotes microRNA biogenesis.

In our most recent paper, we used enoxacin as proof of principle to demonstrate in mice and human cells that drugs targeting the microRNA processing pathway can be used to enhance oxidative metabolism and promote thermogenesis, thus mitigating obesity.  

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Older Patients Are Able to Lose Weight As Well as Younger Patients

Weight gain and obesity can affect anyone, regardless of age. There may be barriers that exist for older people with obesity.

Weightcontrol.com Interview with:
Dr. Thomas M Barber MRCP, PhD
Associate Professor
Honorary Consultant Endocrinologist
University of Warwick and UHCW NHS Trust

Dr. Barber

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

Response: Obesity management within the UK is structured into a 4-tiered system. Tier 3 refers to hospital-based management that usually consists of medical input combined with focused dietary and psychological support where required. Typically within hospital-based tier 3 obesity services, certain subgroups of the population are under-represented, including men and older people. There are likely multiple reasons for this. However, obesity can affect anyone regardless of sex, age or any other classification.

To improve the health and wellbeing of the nation, it is important that we facilitate effective weight management for as many people with obesity as possible. Much of the chronic effects of weight gain and obesity are similar to those that occur with ageing (including, for example increased cardiovascular risk). Therefore, older people with obesity can experience a type of ‘accelerated ageing’ with increased risk for co-morbidities and premature mortality.

The effective management of obesity is therefore particularly important for older people. Unfortunately, we live in an ageist society, which perhaps explains, at least in part, why older people are currently under-represented in obesity services provided by the NHS. The aim of our study was to explore the effects of older age on ability to lose weight within the context of a hospital-based tier 3 obesity service.

Efficacy and Safety of Setmelanotide For Patients with a Rare form of Genetic Obesity

The severe hyperphagia and the feeling of permanent failure due to the situation of being unable to reduce body weight with conservative treatment options (increase exercise, reduce caloric intake) may affect the relationship within the family

WeightControl.com Interview with:
Prof. Dr. Peter Kühnen
Institute for Experimental Pediatric Endocrinology
Charité Universitätsmedizin Berlin
Berlin, Germany

Prof. Dr. Peter Kühnen

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

Response: The leptin melanocortin signaling pathway plays a pivotal role for central appetite regulation. Gene mutations in this pathway are leading to severe hyperphagia and early onset obesity. We present the data of two phase 3 trials, in which patients with POMC/PCSK1 or LEPR deficiency received treatment with the MC4R agonist setmelanotide. In the past, there were centrally acting obesity drugs, like the cannabinoid receptor inhibitor rimonabant, whose use was associated with depression. Therefore, here we present the data about suicidality and depression of the participants during the treatment with the MC4R agonist setmelanotide.

The main finding was that there was no consistent increase in depression or suicidal ideation / behavior of the treated patients. However, in all cases depressive episode or increase in suicidal ideation was related to the medical history of the participants.

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Weight Loss in Low Income Patients in Primary Care Settings

Clinically significant weight loss is possible in underserved, low-income patients in primary care settings.

WeightControl.com Interview with:
Peter Katzmarzyk, Ph.D., FACSM, FAHA, FTOS
Professor and Marie Edana Corcoran Endowed Chair
Pediatric Obesity and Diabetes
Assoc Exec Dir for Population and Public Health Sciences
Pennington Biomedical Research Center
Baton Rouge, LA

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

Response: Obesity remains one of the greatest public health threats, and there is good evidence that intensive lifestyle interventions should be a primary approach to obesity management and treatment. However, there has been minimal uptake of obesity treatment approaches in primary care, which is the cornerstone of medicine in the US.

WeightControl.com: What are the main findings?

Response: We developed an intervention to reduce calorie intake and increase physical activity that was delivered by health coaches embedded in primary care clinics. The sample was diverse with a large percentage of low-income and African American patients. The results demonstrated that patients in the intensive lifestyle intervention lost approximately 5% of their initial body weight, compared to patients in usual care who lost about 0.5% of their body weight. These weight loss differences between the two groups were maintained out to 2 years, which demonstrates the durability of the intervention.    

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COVID-19 Linked to Difficulty with Weight Control

With the current concerns that the pandemic may lead to increases in obesity rates, it’s important to develop appropriate and large-scale support options for those aiming to manage their weight.

WeightControl.com Interview with:

Dr Sarah-Elizabeth Bennett
Senior Research Associate
Slimming World, UK

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

Response: This research is part of a larger Health and Wellbeing study, investigating the behaviour changes made by members of Slimming World, the UK’s largest group-based weight management organisation. New members were surveyed regularly over the course of one year and a representative sample of non-members were also surveyed at similar timepoints for comparison. The survey at the six-month point coincided with lockdown, so questions were added to learn more about how lockdown measures had impacted the nation’s health, wellbeing, and lifestyle behaviours. The following findings were based on the responses of 222 members who had completed all 3 surveys to-date and 637 non-members.

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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).

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