UVA study could help rural residents lose weight
For most people, losing weight is difficult, and it’s especially hard for those who live in the country.
Becca Krukowski, a professor of public health at UVA, says challenges with access to healthy food, medical care and physical activity resources like gyms or YMCAs could be to blame.
She says people in cities and suburbs can sign-up for in-person weight-management programs that are covered by insurance. That’s not the case for most rural residents, so she and her colleagues are doing a study – offering participants a range of services online.
“A bulletin board and someone who’s trained in behavioral intervention, and they have an opportunity to ask questions," Krukowski says. "They’re grouped with 15-25 people to really get that social support that we know is so important with weight loss. They also have access to all 24 of our modules that teach the behavioral skills that are really necessary for working through the various challenges that come up: How do you manage holidays and eating out or stress?"
The program, called iReach, also invites participants to report on their behavior.
“Self-monitoring is one of the most effective strategies for losing weight," she explains, "so keeping track of what you’ve eaten, your physical activity and also your weight, and when people do that on their own with some of the commercial apps that are out there, there really isn’t that personalized feedback that you do get with this program.”
More than 600 people are expected to enroll, free of charge, and to take part in the 24-week program. Findings from the study could help experts to craft more effective online programs and, maybe, persuade Medicare, Medicaid and insurance companies to cover those services.
You can find more information here.