This application addresses broad Challenge Area (06)-Enabling Technologies and Specific Challenge Topic 06-OD(OBSSR)-101* Using new technologies to improve or measure adherence. Overweight/obesity is a major health problem that affects over two-thirds of Americans, increases morbidity and mortality and has annual medical costs exceeding $75 billion. Although many Americans indicate that they are trying to lose weight, adherence to weight loss regimens is often poor. Programs are needed that can improve adherence and weight loss for overweight/obese individuals. Physicians play an important role in motivating patients to improve health behaviors and recent reviews suggest that having physicians advise patients to lose weight and then referring patients to an effective program produces the best behavior change and maintenance. The problem, however, is that physicians currently have limited options for such referrals. The challenge for the field is to develop a program to which physicians can refer their overweight/obese patients. The program must be low cost, easily accessible, and must promote adherence to the weight loss regimen and consequently improve weight loss outcomes. The goal of this Challenge Grant application is to develop and test an innovative web-based program that would provide an accessible and effective approach to enhancing adherence to clinical recommendations for weight loss. If effective, the program would provide an outstanding resource for physicians and their patients and could consequently have important clinical and public health impact. We propose to develop a program based on our prior research that uses innovative Internet technology to provide a low cost, easily disseminated program that captures two critical elements of effective behavioral weight loss programs-namely, training in key behavioral weight control strategies and increased participant accountability. Patients, referred by their physician for weight loss, will be offered a 12 week program that they can view at their convenience on their computer. The program will use Web-based interactive multi-media approaches for presentation of the behavioral skills and provide a Web-based form for submission of self- monitoring and weight data;to maximize patient accountability, the program will include a system of automated feedback for participants, which comments on their weight loss to date and their performance within several behavioral weight-loss domains, with suggestions tailored to the characteristics and performance of the individual. Periodic reports on the patients'progress will also be sent to the referring physician. We will test this program in a randomized trial with 250 patients referred by their physicians who will be randomly assigned to either Internet Education (Control) (N=125) or to the Innovative Technology program (N=125). Participants in both groups will receive a 12 week Internet program of either basic weight loss education or the Innovative Technology program and will be weighed at the start and end of the 3 month program and at 3 month follow- up. The primary hypothesis is that patients who are assigned to the Innovative Technology program will achieve larger average weight losses than those in the control group over the 12-week program. Secondary hypotheses are that the Innovative technology group will adhere better over the 12-weeks (assessed by log-ins to the web site and self-reported changes in diet and activity) and achieve better weight losses at 6 months than the control group. The proposed project addresses the significant problem of obesity and uses innovative technology to improve adherence to a behavioral weight loss strategies. If the program is effective, it would provide an outstanding resource for physicians to use with their patients and thus would have tremendous clinical impact. The proposed project addresses the significant problem of obesity and uses innovative technology to improve adherence to a behavioral weight loss strategies. If the program is effective, it would provide an outstanding resource for physicians to use with their patients and thus would have tremendous clinical impact.

Public Health Relevance

The proposed project addresses the significant problem of obesity and uses innovative technology to improve adherence to a behavioral weight loss strategies. If the program is effective, it would provide an outstanding resource for physicians to use with their patients and thus would have tremendous clinical impact.

Agency
National Institute of Health (NIH)
Institute
National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI)
Type
NIH Challenge Grants and Partnerships Program (RC1)
Project #
1RC1HL100002-01
Application #
7821734
Study Section
Special Emphasis Panel (ZRG1-RPHB-A (58))
Program Officer
Czajkowski, Susan
Project Start
2009-09-30
Project End
2011-07-31
Budget Start
2009-09-30
Budget End
2010-07-31
Support Year
1
Fiscal Year
2009
Total Cost
$485,920
Indirect Cost
Name
Miriam Hospital
Department
Type
DUNS #
063902704
City
Providence
State
RI
Country
United States
Zip Code
02906
Thomas, J Graham; Leahey, Tricia M; Wing, Rena R (2015) An automated internet behavioral weight-loss program by physician referral: a randomized controlled trial. Diabetes Care 38:9-15