Results Summary

What was the research about?

In the United States, one in three adults has obesity; among Black women, this number is one in two. Losing weight can help reduce the risk for health problems such as diabetes and improve quality of life. But most people who lose weight gain it back.

In this study, the research team compared two programs to help Black women maintain weight loss after they finished a six-month weight loss program:

  • Culturally sensitive program. The research team trained doctors to use behaviors that would make women feel comfortable when talking to them about their weight. Doctors also discussed things that may keep patients from making healthy choices and ways to overcome those barriers. To identify these behaviors, the team held two group discussions with Black women who were similar to the women in the study.
  • Standard program. The research team trained doctors in how to provide behavior change information and how to ask questions to help women maintain weight loss.

The research team looked at changes in body weight and other health outcomes.

What were the results?

After one year of the weight loss maintenance program, patients in the culturally sensitive program had lower body weight (7.5 pounds on average) and reported fewer barriers to healthy eating and physical activity than patients in the standard program. Patients in the two programs didn’t differ in:

  • Blood pressure
  • Blood sugar levels
  • Fat levels in blood
  • Other aspects of healthy eating, such as choosing healthy foods and limiting soda
  • Quality of life

Who was in the study?

This study included 356 Black women with obesity who were 21 years of age and older. The average age was 55. All previously received care at one of 21 clinics in the Jacksonville area of Florida and Georgia.

What did the research team do?

The research team assigned clinics by chance to one of the two programs. Patients received the program assigned to their clinic. Patients in both programs met with doctors every three months for one year.

At the start of the maintenance program and one year later, patients completed surveys about healthy eating, physical activity, and quality of life. The research team also checked patients’ weight and blood pressure and did blood tests.

Black women with obesity, doctors, dieticians, community members, and clinic administrators provided input throughout the study.

What were the limits of the study?

Only about half of the women completed the six-month weight loss program. Results may have differed if more patients could have entered the maintenance program. COVID-19 may have affected patients’ ability to take part in the programs due to changes in their personal lives.

Future research could look at ways to improve how clinics deliver culturally sensitive weight loss and weight loss maintenance programs.

How can people use the results?

Clinics can use the results when considering ways to help Black women maintain weight loss.

Final Research Report

This project's final research report is expected to be available by August 2023.

Peer-Review Summary

The Peer-Review Summary for this project will be posted here soon.

Project Information

Carolyn M. Tucker, PhD
University of Florida
$2,099,918
Culturally Sensitive, Primary Care Clinic-Based Interventions by Community Health Workers and Trained Physicians to Promote and Sustain Weight Loss among Black Women Patients with Obesity

Key Dates

September 2017
May 2023
2017
2022

Study Registration Information

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Last updated: January 12, 2023