Background

Obesity rates among older adults in the last decade have increased significantly compared to younger age groups, elevating risk for mobility disability. Feasible, effective, and potentially sustainable interventions in non-clinical settings could expand reach to an aging baby boomer population with obesity and mixed risk factors. The Mobility and Vitality Lifestyle Program (MOVE UP) combined translational evidence-based weight management/healthy aging approaches to study impact on a primary endpoint of physical function. Here we report initial pre-post data for the 5-month (post 20 sessions) and 13-month (post 32 sessions) weight and moderate-vigorous physical activity (MVPA) changes hypothesized to mediate the primary outcome.

Methods

Experts provided a minimum 15 hours of behavioral training aligned with the first 5-months of program delivery for 11 community health workers (CHW) to implement a manualized group lifestyle intervention with site-cohorts including 4 senior centers, 3 community centers, 3 YMCAs, 1 senior residence, 1 library, and 1 church. CHWs were also community-recruited.

Results

Elder participants (baseline N = 136) comprising these cohorts were 86% female, 24.3% Black, (mean±SD) age 68.4 ± 4.1 years, BMI 34.6 ± 4.6 kg/m2, with 2-3 chronic conditions, arthritis and hypertension most common. They attended 16.5 ± 3.0 sessions in the first 5-months, losing -4.8 ± 4.0 kg or -5.2% of initial weight and increasing MVPA (CHAMPS questionnaire; N = 133) by 2.1± 6.1 hours/per week. At 13-months, N = 121 (89%) attended 25.9 ± 4.9 sessions, increased weight loss to -6.4 ± 6.0 kg or -6.9% and maintained an increase in MVPA of 2.06 ± 5.36 hours/per week (all paired t-tests significant at p<.0001).

Conclusions

A 13-month, 32-session healthy weight management intervention delivered by trained and supported CHWs successfully reached, engaged, and retained older adults and achieved weight loss maintenance and activity outcomes comparable to benchmarks shown in traditional healthcare settings.