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Project: 52-week Telehealth clinical trial on weight loss in older adults

Grant number: R01-AG077163

Obesity is a significant problem seen across all age groups. While there are various interventions that promote weight loss, they are not always effective, especially in older individuals who face chronic health issues. Our study objective is to determine optimal weight loss strategies among older adults.

This 52-week trial examines 180 obese older adults who suffer from two or more chronic health conditions. It also measures their progress after participating in two different weight loss interventions: prescriptive and behavioral. With prescriptive intervention, subjects are given physical therapy and dieting plans that are tailored to accommodate their chronic conditions. The behavioral approach emphasizes behavioral change through health coaching.

With this study, our team aims to test the effectiveness of both interventions by examining the primary and secondary outcomes of each. Additionally, our team will aim to implement a precision medicine approach by assessing the patterns of initial weight loss and comparing those strategies to non-responders. We will do this in the form of increasing the number of sessions, combining both interventions, or switching interventions.

Another aim of this study is to examine the cost-effectiveness of both interventions by estimating the cost per percent weight change as well as the cost of maintaining at least 5% of weight loss. By examining the cost of our precision medicine approach, we can predict the highest likelihood of weight loss response among non-responders.

Key Collaborators

Michael Kosorok, PhD, professor in the UNC Department of Biostatistics, UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health
Deborah Tate, PhD, Professor in the Department of Nutrition, UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health
Carmina Valle, PhD, in the Department of Nutrition, UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health
Sally Stearns, PhD, in the Department of Health Policy, UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health