Enrolling in a weight loss program with a family member or friend appears to enhance weight loss among African Americans, but only if the involved partner attends sessions frequently or also loses weight, according to a report in the October 26 issue of Archives of Internal Medicine. Obesity and its cardiovascular complications affect many African Americans, according to background information in the article. Standard behavioral treatments for obesity appear to be less successful in African Americans than in whites. Cultural modifications to these standard programs-such as the inclusion of family members and support networks-may enhance their effectiveness. Shiriki K. Kumanyika, PhD, MPH, professor of Epidemiology at the School of Medicine; Tom Wadden, PhD, Penn Medicine professor of Psychology in Psychiatry and Director of the Center for Weight and Eating Disorders; Marjorie A. Bowman, MD, professor of Family Medicine and Community Health, and colleagues, conducted a two-year trial of a culturally specific weight loss program among 344 African American men and women. The goal was to achieve and maintain a 5 percent to 10 percent weight loss. Components of the program included counseling that encouraged self-monitoring of food intake and physical activity, distribution of pedometers, group sessions involving weight and activity checks and skill building, and community-based field workshops such as cooking demonstrations and gym visits.

For more information about the study, view the news release from the Archives of Internal Medicine.

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The Perelman School of Medicine has been ranked among the top five medical schools in the United States for the past 17 years, according to U.S. News & World Report's survey of research-oriented medical schools. The School is consistently among the nation's top recipients of funding from the National Institutes of Health, with $392 million awarded in the 2013 fiscal year.

The University of Pennsylvania Health System's patient care facilities include: The Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania -- recognized as one of the nation's top "Honor Roll" hospitals by U.S. News & World Report; Penn Presbyterian Medical Center; Chester County Hospital; Penn Wissahickon Hospice; and Pennsylvania Hospital -- the nation's first hospital, founded in 1751. Additional affiliated inpatient care facilities and services throughout the Philadelphia region include Chestnut Hill Hospital and Good Shepherd Penn Partners, a partnership between Good Shepherd Rehabilitation Network and Penn Medicine.

Penn Medicine is committed to improving lives and health through a variety of community-based programs and activities. In fiscal year 2013, Penn Medicine provided $814 million to benefit our community.

 

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