BOSTON (Wednesday, February 20, 2013)- Workplace-based programs that include dietary advice coupled with behavioral counseling appear to be a promising approach for men and women with significant weight loss goals, based on the results of a pilot study conducted by researchers at the Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging (HNRCA) at Tufts University. Employees enrolled in the intervention arm of a randomized controlled trial lost on average, 18 pounds over a six-month period compared to a two pound weight gain in a control group. The study results are published online ahead of print by the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
"Although previous research has focused on weight loss interventions based in office settings, those studies that we are aware of report modest weight loss over periods ranging from three months to two years. To the best of our knowledge, our approach is unique because of the inclusion of a strong behavioral component," says Senior Author Sai Krupa Das, Ph.D., a scientist in the Energy Metabolism Laboratory at the USDA HNRCA at Tufts University. "Over the course of the intervention, a counselor with training in both nutrition and behavior modification met at first weekly and later bi-weekly with the participants as a group during their lunch hour. In these sessions, discussions focused on strategies for menu planning, portion control and managing hunger, as well as dealing with stress-related and emotional eating. The participants also received individual support in a weekly e-mail exchange with the counselor."
The weight loss component of the study enrolled men and women from four Boston area companies, all of whom had a body mass index (BMI) classifying them as overweight or obese. Eighty-four (84) men and women from two of the companies, one for-profit and one non-profit, completed the intervention. Thirty-four (34) employees from the other two companies served as the control group.
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Tufts University, Health Sciences Campus