A new study led by researchers from the University of Colorado School of Medicine finds that patients, when given the option to use evidence-based medical weight management tools in a primary care setting, achieve better weight loss results compared to those who receive routine care.
The study, published in Journal of General Internal Medicine and funded by the Patient Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI), offered a randomly selected group of primary care patients at Denver Health a “toolbox” of weight management treatment options at a low out-of-pocket cost. Researchers found that nearly 35 percent of patients who used the treatments (and 25 percent of all eligible patients) had 5 percent or more weight loss over the 12-month trial. Approximately 16 percent of comparator patients receiving usual care achieved the same level of weight loss.
Evidence-based weight management options included partial meal replacements, recreation center vouchers, pharmacotherapy, commercial weight loss program vouchers, and a group behavioral weight loss program.
“Our trial patients preferred and had success using weight loss treatment options that are not typically offered in primary care clinics,” said David Saxon, MD, assistant professor of medicine for the CU School of Medicine, and lead author of the study.
Prior to the study, little evidence existed to inform patients, providers, and administrators about the impact of providing affordable evidence-based medical weight management services.
“Patients in primary care clinics who struggle with their weight want help. When weight management tools are offered to these people in the same way that doctors offer treatments for other conditions like diabetes or hypertension, patients make use of them and have success,” according to Anschutz Health and Wellness Center Director Dan Bessesen, MD, professor of medicine at CU School of Medicine.