Meal replacements in a medically supervised weight loss program are successful in facilitating weight loss, according to a new study conducted at the University of Kentucky. The study appears in the August 2009 issue of the Journal of the American Dietetic Association.
The meal replacements are products of Health Management Resources Corporation (HMR), a privately owned national health care company specializing in weight loss and weight management.
The study assessed weight outcomes, behavioral data and side effects for obese patients enrolled in an intensive behavioral weight loss program. Two treatment options were offered, Medically Supervised and Healthy Solutions. Medically Supervised patients restricted food consumption to meal replacements, which consisted of shakes and entrees, and bars.
Patients either consumed five shakes daily or three shakes and two shelf-stable entrees daily. Healthy Solutions patients limited food intake to shakes, entrees, bars, fruit and vegetables. Recommendations were to consume a minimum of three shakes, two entrees and five servings of fruit and vegetables daily. Some patients with diabetes, hypertension or medical problems necessitated the Medically Supervised option. Patients in the Medically Supervised option lost an average of 43.4 pounds in 19 weeks. Patients in the Healthy Solutions option lost an average of 37.5 pounds in 18 weeks. The study also found that patient compliance, accountability and commitment with the support of a structured program increases weight loss success.
The study's co-author, Dr. James W. Anderson, professor emeritus of internal medicine and clinical nutrition at the University of Kentucky College of Medicine, said the gold standard for weight loss by the health community is a 5 to10 percent loss of initial body weight. "This study showed a loss of 16.4 percent of initial body weight in the Medically Supervised group and a loss of 15.8 percent of initial body weight in the Healthy Solutions group, both well above the gold standard the health community considers successful and when health improvements are seen."
Anderson served as medical director for the Health Management Resources Program for Weight Management at UK for 22 years and actively continues as staff physician at HMR. The program is a partnership between the UK College of Medicine and Health Management Resources Corporation in Boston, Mass.
The Centers for Disease Control reports a dramatic increase in obesity in the United States over the past 20 years. An estimated 66 percent of U.S. adults are overweight or obese. Some common effects of obesity include heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, arthritis and some kinds of cancer. If you are obese, losing even 5 to10 percent of weight can delay or prevent some of these diseases.
Anderson receives salary support and research funding from Health Management Resources. He also receives active research support from the HCF Nutrition Research Foundation.
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