PCORI has identified obesity as an important research topic. Patients, primary care clinicians, and others want to learn: Which treatment options achieve the best weight loss outcomes for adults, especially those in minority racial/ethnic groups, individuals with low socioeconomic status, and residents of rural areas? To help answer this question, PCORI launched a funding initiative in 2014 on Obesity Treatment Options Set in Primary Care for Underserved Populations: Pragmatic Clinical Trials to Evaluate Real-World Comparative Effectiveness. This research project is one of the studies PCORI awarded as part of this program.
This research project is in progress. PCORI will post the research findings on this page within 90 days after the results are final.
What is the research about?
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, obesity affects more than 35 percent of adults in the United States. People who live in rural areas are more likely to have obesity than those living in cities. They are also less likely to have access to programs to help them lose weight than those living in cities. The research team is interested in comparing three ways to treat obesity in rural populations:
- Regular individual office visits at a health clinic
- The patient-centered medical home, which uses teams of health professionals working together to manage patients’ needs at primary care clinics and includes group counseling at the clinic
- Disease management, which involves group counseling by phone
Who can this research help?
This study can help health clinic managers and primary care doctors work with patients to choose how to provide care for people with obesity.
What is the research team doing?
Researchers are working with 36 rural primary care clinics in Iowa, Kansas, Nebraska, and Wisconsin. At each clinic, healthcare providers and the research team are inviting people who have obesity to take part in the study, for a total of about 1,440 patients.
The research team is assigning each clinic by chance to one of three groups. The first group of clinics provides care by talking to people about how to manage their weight during regular individual office visits. The second group of clinics uses in-person group counseling sessions to help people manage their weight. Healthcare workers from the clinics lead the group counseling sessions. The second group of clinics are patient-centered medical homes. These clinics coordinate and plan patients’ primary care and work with specialists. The third group of clinics provides group counseling sessions by telephone to help people manage their weight. A counselor who specializes in treating people with obesity leads these sessions. People in this group also get email and text message support. This way of treating a health problem is called disease management.
Researchers are looking at weight loss in each group after two years. They are also looking at participants’ blood pressure, blood sugar, and cholesterol, as well as patients’ quality of life, sleep quality, and stress level.
The research team is planning the study with input from people with obesity, doctors and managers from rural primary care clinics, insurance companies, a medical society for primary care doctors, and state health departments.
Research methods at a glance
Other Clinical Interventions
Other Health Services Interventions
Training and Education Interventions