Three-year follow-up of Pawtucket Heart Health's community-based weight loss programs
PURPOSE: The purpose of the study was to evaluate the effectiveness of a community-based weight loss program.
DESIGN: A questionnaire was administered by telephone to subjects one to three years following participation in a weight loss program.
SETTING: The study took place in Pawtucket, Rhode Island. The Pawtucket Heart Health Program is part of this setting.
SUBJECTS: A stratified sample of 400 subjects was randomly selected from 2,186 people who participated in weight loss programs between 1985 and 1987. A total of 285 subjects completed the questionnaire; 229 subjects provided sufficient information to be included in the study.
INTERVENTION: The subjects participated in community-based and worksite-based weight loss programs.
MEASURES: Self-reported heights and weights before and after intervention and demographic data were collected. Desirable body weight and Garrow's health risk classifications were calculated.
RESULTS: Overall, there was a 3.2% reduction in body weight between time of entrance into weight loss programs and time of interview. Eighty percent of the participants lost weight in the program; mean weight loss was 11 pounds. At time of follow-up interview one to three years later, 65% of subjects weighed less than at entrance into the community programs; on average, subjects weighed six pounds less. Sixty-nine percent of the sample was above 20% desirable body weight at entrance and 26% of this group lost enough weight to lower their health risk category.
CONCLUSIONS: Weight loss in this community-based program compares favorably with those reported by more intense and expensive clinic-bound programs