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Food Insecurity Moderates Response to Weight Loss Intervention

TUESDAY, March 9, 2021 -- Food insecurity moderates patient response to a high-intensity, lifestyle-based treatment of obesity, with greater weight loss seen among those who are food-secure, according to a research letter published online March 9 in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

Candice A. Myers, Ph.D., from Pennington Biomedical Research Center in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and colleagues examined whether food security status modifies patient responses to a high-intensity lifestyle-based intervention for weight loss in a cluster randomized trial conducted in primary care clinics across Louisiana. Clinics were randomly assigned to an intensive lifestyle intervention (ILI) group or usual care (UC) group.

Data were included for 803 participants with obesity, of whom 247 (31 percent) reported being food-insecure, including 129 and 118 patients in the ILI and UC groups (29 and 34 percent, respectively). The researchers observed an effect modification of food insecurity on body weight. At 24 months, regardless of food security status, participants in the ILI group lost more weight than those in the UC group; however, among those who were food-insecure, the ILI seemed to be less effective. The mean absolute weight difference between the ILI and UC groups was 5.2 and 2.7 kg among food-secure and food-insecure participants, respectively.

"Both food insecurity and obesity continue to increase in the United States," the authors write. "To address effective and equitable obesity prevention and treatment, tailored weight loss approaches that simultaneously address food insecurity and obesity are needed."

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