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Young men with obesity have double the mortality risk compared to young men with a healthy weight, but are notoriously challenging to recruit for behavioral weight loss (BWL) programs. Emerging evidence suggests that young men might prefer self-guided or low touch interventions, but limited data are available as to their effectiveness. To inform future efforts, we conducted a secondary analysis of young men’s performance in a technology-driven BWL trial developed specifically for young adults. Objectives were to: 1) examine young men’s enrollment rates; and 2) compare young men and women’s weight loss outcomes and self-regulation behaviors.
Data were drawn from an ongoing randomized controlled trial targeting young adults (18-25 years, body mass index 25-45 kg/m2) for weight loss. Participants (N=184, 60% racial / ethnic minority, BMI=33.2) were recruited using a multi-method approach and randomized to one of three arms, all of which received a 6-month technology mediated intervention with content adapted specifically for young adults. For the purposes of the present analysis, outcomes of interest included weight change at 3 months (objectively assessed in-clinic) and engagement with self-regulation behaviors (captured via Bluetooth scales and self-monitoring app). Treatment arm was included as a covariate in all outcome analyses. Descriptive statistics were computed to capture enrollment rates. GLM was used to compare men and women on percent weight change at 3-months, days of self-weighing, and days of dietary self-monitoring.
Young men represented 17% of enrolled participants. At 3-months, men manifested greater weight losses compared to women (-4.8±5.1% vs. -2.5±4.1%, p=.008). Over the course of the 3-months, engagement with self-regulation behaviors was similar for men and women; men had a similar number of days of self-weighing (46.77±24.6 vs. 47.42±24.0, p=.88) and a lower number of days for tracking diet (36.87±24.3 vs. 43.42±22.6, p=.15) relative to women.
While enrollment was low among young men in this technology-driven BWL program, those men who enrolled lost double the weight compared to women—even though engagement with self-monitoring behaviors was similar or lower. These results suggest that a low touch and primarily self-guided weight loss program may be sufficient to produce clinically meaningful weight loss among young men. Findings are discussed in terms of implications for future work.
weight loss, obesity, men
Jessica G. LaRose
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VCU Graduate Research Posters