Online Program

Evaluation of two weight management interventions for U.S. Veterans receiving care at a Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Medic al Center: Community-based groups or usual care?

Wednesday, November 4, 2015 : 11:10 a.m. - 11:30 a.m.

Leslie Patterson, PhD, Family and Community Medicine, Medical College of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, WI
Emily McGinley, MPH, MS, Department of Population Health, Medical College of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, WI
Kristyn Ertl, BA, Clement J Zablocki VAMC, Milwaukee, WI
Nancy Wilke, OT, Clement J. Zablocki VA Medical Center, Milwaukee, WI
Avery Hayes, MD, Clement J. Zablocki VA Medical Center, Milwaukee, WI
Jeffrey Morzinski, PhD, MSW, Department of Family and Community Medicine, Medical College of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, WI
Jeff Whittle, MD, MPH, Clement J Zablocki VAMC, Milwaukee, WI

The Veterans Health Administration (VHA) runs a weight management program called MOVE! for overweight/obese Veterans. Although MOVE! has generated impressive results for some Veterans, most eligible Veterans do not participate. Non-participants cite scheduling issues and distance as barriers. In response, we developed a convenient community-based peer-led program called MOVE OUT. The current study explores 12-month differences in health status, behavior, and attitudes among Veterans assigned to the two programs. 


We identified a cohort of high-risk overweight/obese Veterans from a local VA Medical Center. We randomized eligible individuals to either MOVE! (usual care) or MOVE OUT (experimental). We collected weight and blood pressure data on all subjects (chart review). We administered surveys assessing health status, behaviors, and attitudes to a subset of consented subjects. At baseline, 12, and 24 months. We analyzed differences between the two programs.


At 12 months, Veterans assigned to MOVE OUT (n=78) reported higher levels of exercise-related social support than those assigned to MOVE! (n=86, p=0.03). MOVE OUT Veterans reported higher physical quality of life scores than MOVE! Veterans (p=0.06). Though not statistically significant, MOVE OUT Veterans lost 1.6 pounds over the 12-month period, compared to -0.7 pounds for MOVE! (p=0.69).


Losing weight is important to many Veterans, yet weight loss in MOVE! or MOVE OUT  is limited. However, MOVE OUT Veterans achieved greater feelings of social support and physical quality of life, potentially highlighting a strength of the community-based peer-led format of the program.

Learning Areas:

Chronic disease management and prevention
Conduct evaluation related to programs, research, and other areas of practice
Implementation of health education strategies, interventions and programs

Learning Objectives:
List the key features of two weight management programs for Veterans. Describe the VA patients assigned to the two programs. Compare the 12-month changes in health status, behavior, and attitudes of the assigned patients. Discuss how the findings point to a potential strength of the experimental delivery format.

Keyword(s): Aging, Chronic Disease Management and Care

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I served as the Educational Specialist on two VA HSRD-funded randomized controlled trials, one examining the efficacy of a peer-led educational intervention to reduce blood pressure in hypertensive veterans, and the other a study of an innovative community-based weight management program. I guided the development of training curricula for peer group leaders for both RCTs. I served as a site mentor and delivered diet and exercise lessons to sites in our community-based weight management program.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.