Purpose: Obesity is a growing issue in Australia with limited evidence for brief community based intervention. This preliminary study aimed to investigate the long term effects of a 4-week group based multidisciplinary behavior management program for weight loss in the community health setting.
Method: A quasi-experimental study design was employed recruiting patients referred to two Community Health Centers. Participants completed a 4-week Appetite for change program, comprising four 2-h group sessions co-facilitated by a multidisciplinary team. The mindfulness self efficacy scale (MSES), quality of life scale (QoL), and self-reported knowledge and stages of change were measured pre-treatment, immediately post-treatment and, 6 and 12 months post-treatment. Weight and waist circumference were additionally measured at baseline, 6 and 12 months post-treatment.
Results: Eighty participants (mean age 63 ± 12.1 years) comprising 73 % women consented to participate. Statistically significant improvements (p ≤ 0.01) from pre-treatment were found at both 6 and 12 months, with a clinically significant mean percentage weight loss of approximately 4 %, and a mean improvement of 8.5 point on QoL at 12 months follow-up. Self-reported improvements in stages of change and knowledge were also maintained at 12 months.
Conclusion: Clinically and statistically significant long term improvements in all outcomes were found following a multidisciplinary brief intervention program for overweight/obese adults in the community health setting. The promising results following the Appetite for Change program warrant further controlled investigation.