(HealthDay News) – A two-year behavioral intervention program is associated with modest weight loss and improved blood pressure control in a high-risk, socioeconomically disadvantaged group of obese patients.

Gary G. Bennett, PhD, of Duke University in Durham, NC, and colleagues conducted a two-year, randomized trial involving 365 obese patients (71.2% black, 13.1% Hispanic, 32.9% with less than high school education) receiving antihypertensive medication to receive either usual care or a behavioral intervention that promoted weight loss. The intervention consisted of behavior change goals, self-monitoring and skills training, telephone counseling calls, primary care provider support, optional group support sessions, and community resource links.

The researchers found that, at 24 months, participants in the intervention group had a −1.03kg weight change and −0.38 change in their body mass index compared with the usual-care group. Larger mean weight losses were seen during the 24 months in the intervention vs usual-care group (area under the receiver operating characteristic curve, −1.07kg). In the intervention group, the mean systolic blood pressure was lower, but not significantly different than the usual-care group. There was a significant trend toward improved blood pressure control in the intervention group.

“Our findings are arguably more generalizable to real-world health center settings than are those of highly controlled efficacy trials with larger treatment effects,” the authors write. “More work is necessary to best address the needs of socioeconomically disadvantaged patients who bear the greatest risk and disease burden of obesity.”

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