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?
One out of every three adults in the United States has obesity. Among black women, the number is one in two. Obesity can lead to serious health problems such as high blood pressure, diabetes, and heart disease. Losing weight can help reduce the risk for health problems and improve quality of life. But most people who lose weight gain it back.
In this study, the research team is looking at a culturally sensitive treatment program and a standard program to see which works better to help black women lose weight and keep it off.
Who can this research help?
Health clinics can use results from this study when considering treatment programs to offer for black women with obesity. Black women with obesity and their doctors can consider the findings when choosing an obesity treatment program.
What is the research team doing?
This study is taking place at 20 health clinics in the Jacksonville area in Florida. The research team is recruiting 680 black women aged 21 years or older with obesity. For six months, all patients take part in a culturally sensitive weight loss program called Health Smart for Weight Loss. In this program, community health workers, or CHWs, work with healthcare providers to help patients lose weight. CHWs get training to teach people about health and link people with health and social services in their community.
After patients complete the Health Smart for Weight Loss program, the research team assigns patients by chance to one of two treatment programs:
- A patient-centered, culturally sensitive, weight loss maintenance program: Doctors talk with patients about preventing weight gain and setting weight loss goals in ways that take into account their cultures and values.
- A standard behavioral weight loss maintenance program: Doctors talk with patients about preventing weight gain without focusing on patients’ cultures and values.
Patients in both of these programs meet with their doctors every three months for one year.
The research team is weighing patients at the start of the study and again after 6 and 18 months to track patients’ weight loss and whether they keep weight off over time. CHWs and clinicians fill out surveys at the start of the study and again six months later. The surveys ask how well CHWs and clinicians work with each other in caring for patients in the weight loss programs.
Patients, clinicians, policy makers, insurers, community advocates, and other groups are working with the research team to plan and carry out the study.
Research methods at a glance
Testing a Culturally Sensitive Approach for Weight Loss Maintenance
PCORI-funded researcher, Carolyn M. Tucker, PhD, talks about the work of her PCORI-funded study in Jacksonville, Florida, that is comparing two weight loss maintenance programs, one of which is culturally sensitive with the hopes of improving outcomes for African-American women with obesity.
Other Health Services Interventions
Training and Education Interventions