Tailored weight loss program for veterans disappoints

forestpath / Shutterstock.com

An intensive, one-on-one weight loss program developed by the Veterans Affairs Department failed to attract many comers, and the few who did take part didn’t lose much weight, researchers report.

It’s not clear why the program did not work, but it doesn’t bode well for efforts to help the two-thirds of Americans who are overweight or obese lose weight. Most studies looking at how to help people take off the pounds suggest such just such a personalized, lifestyle-changing approach.

Alyson Littman of the Seattle Epidemiologic Research and Information Center and colleagues looked at the VA’s MOVE! Weight Management Program for Veterans. 

Out of all the VA patients, 76,599 were classified as candidates for the program, based on their records, height, and weight. “A total of 3,192 (4.2 percent) patients participated in MOVE!,” Littman’s team wrote in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention journal Preventing Chronic Disease.

About half of these only showed up for one session. Those who showed up more often lost more weight but the effects also didn’t last much longer than a few months, on average. “Participants lost approximately 1 to 2 pounds during 6 to 12 months of follow-up,” Littman’s team wrote.

The program was intense and carefully planned, using dietitians, physical and recreational therapists, social workers, and mental-health professionals. Each participant had a tailored diet, exercise, and counseling regime. But most people did not stick with the program, perhaps demonstrating just how difficult it is to change lifestyle to lose weight.

Obesity in the military and afterwards is a serious problem. “An estimated 70 percent of veterans are overweight or obese, with a body mass index (BMI, in kg/m2) of 25.0 or more, consistent with the prevalence of overweight and obesity among demographically similar nonveterans,” Littman’s team wrote.

Being obese raises the risk of heart disease, stroke, diabetes, arthritis, and several types of cancer.

“Weight loss as small as 5 percent can reduce the risk of chronic conditions associated with obesity,” Littman’s team wrote—and some other programs have worked better. The MOVE! Program worked about as well as other “real world” studies, however, Littman pointed out.

“Evaluating the effectiveness of MOVE! is challenging because it is not clear that the program was implemented as intended. Sustained and intensive treatments are associated with better outcomes,” her team added.

National Journal will examine the issue of overweight military personnel in more detail on Wednesday.

(Image via forestpath /Shutterstock.com)

Stay up-to-date with federal news alerts and analysis — Sign up for GovExec's email newsletters.
Close [ x ] More from GovExec

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from GovExec.com.
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Sponsored by G Suite

    Cross-Agency Teamwork, Anytime and Anywhere

    Dan McCrae, director of IT service delivery division, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)

  • Data-Centric Security vs. Database-Level Security

    Database-level encryption had its origins in the 1990s and early 2000s in response to very basic risks which largely revolved around the theft of servers, backup tapes and other physical-layer assets. As noted in Verizon’s 2014, Data Breach Investigations Report (DBIR)1, threats today are far more advanced and dangerous.

  • Federal IT Applications: Assessing Government's Core Drivers

    In order to better understand the current state of external and internal-facing agency workplace applications, Government Business Council (GBC) and Riverbed undertook an in-depth research study of federal employees. Overall, survey findings indicate that federal IT applications still face a gamut of challenges with regard to quality, reliability, and performance management.

  • PIV- I And Multifactor Authentication: The Best Defense for Federal Government Contractors

    This white paper explores NIST SP 800-171 and why compliance is critical to federal government contractors, especially those that work with the Department of Defense, as well as how leveraging PIV-I credentialing with multifactor authentication can be used as a defense against cyberattacks

  • Toward A More Innovative Government

    This research study aims to understand how state and local leaders regard their agency’s innovation efforts and what they are doing to overcome the challenges they face in successfully implementing these efforts.

  • From Volume to Value: UK’s NHS Digital Provides U.S. Healthcare Agencies A Roadmap For Value-Based Payment Models

    The U.S. healthcare industry is rapidly moving away from traditional fee-for-service models and towards value-based purchasing that reimburses physicians for quality of care in place of frequency of care.

  • GBC Flash Poll: Is Your Agency Safe?

    Federal leaders weigh in on the state of information security


When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.