Project Summary

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

Design Elements Description
Design Randomized controlled trial
Population 680 black women ages 21 years and older who have a BMI between 30–50 kg/m2
  • Health-Smart for Weight Loss program plus a patient-centered, culturally sensitive weight loss maintenance program, which includes a weight loss program with CHWs for 6 months, followed by 3 meetings for 1 year with doctors trained to talk with patients about preventing weight gain in culturally sensitive ways
  • Health-Smart for Weight Loss program plus a standard behavioral weight loss maintenance program, which includes a weight loss program with CHWs for 6 months, followed by 3 meetings for 1 year with doctors trained to talk to their patients about preventing weight gain, without focusing on cultural sensitivity

Primary: weight loss, weight loss maintenance

Secondary: level of CHW integration in participating primary care clinics

Timeframe 18-month follow-up for primary outcomes

More to Explore...


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.

Project Information

Carolyn M. Tucker, PhD
University of Florida
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
July 2022

Study Registration Information


Award Type
Health Conditions Health Conditions These are the broad terms we use to categorize our funded research studies; specific diseases or conditions are included within the appropriate larger category. Note: not all of our funded projects focus on a single disease or condition; some touch on multiple diseases or conditions, research methods, or broader health system interventions. Such projects won’t be listed by a primary disease/condition and so won’t appear if you use this filter tool to find them. View Glossary
Populations Populations PCORI is interested in research that seeks to better understand how different clinical and health system options work for different people. These populations are frequently studied in our portfolio or identified as being of interest by our stakeholders. View Glossary
Funding Opportunity Type
Intervention Strategy Intervention Strategies PCORI funds comparative clinical effectiveness research (CER) studies that compare two or more options or approaches to health care, or that compare different ways of delivering or receiving care. View Glossary
State State The state where the project originates, or where the primary institution or organization is located. View Glossary
Last updated: March 4, 2022