Improving Men's Health through Weight Control: Randomized Trials Testing Recruitment Messaging and a Novel Weight Loss Intervention Public Deposited

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  • March 19, 2019
  • Crane, Melissa
    • Affiliation: Gillings School of Global Public Health, Department of Health Behavior
  • The combined prevalence of overweight and obesity is greater among men than women in the United States but men are less likely to participate in behavioral weight control interventions. This dissertation tested ways to increase men's involvement with such programs so that they can improve their health through weight management. Aim One tested targeted recruitment messages to increase men's recruitment to a study of weight gain prevention. Young-adult households (n=30,000) were randomized to receive either a generic or a male-targeted recruitment postcard. The number of male respondents was similar across mailings (p=0.30); however a greater proportion of the total respondents to the targeted card were men (36.8% versus 19.1%; p=0.07). In Aim Two, a novel weight loss intervention was developed that incorporated men's preferences for weight loss with evidenced-based strategies. The program was designed to appeal to men by increasing autonomy and using a unique approach to calorie reduction. Men (N=107) were randomized to an immediate intervention group or a wait list control: 90.6% of those randomized provided data at the six-month assessment. The intervention was delivered via two face-to-face sessions followed by weekly Internet contact (tailored feedback and participant lesson selection) through three months, followed by monthly Internet contacts through six months. The intervention group lost significantly more weight than the waitlist group (5.6 kg vs. 0.6 kg, p<0.001) at six months. Greater reductions in percent weight loss, waist circumference, and body fat were also observed in the intervention group compared to the control group (all p's<0.001). Participants completed an average of 11.2 (SD=2.7) of 13 online contacts. Aim Three tested whether changes in theoretical constructs and behaviors mediated the intervention effect on weight loss at six months. Changes in autonomous motivation, self-efficacy, and self-regulation for diet; caloric intake; and frequency of daily self-weighing mediated the intervention effect on weight loss. This collection of studies contributes to the growing literature focused on men's weight loss by providing evidence for using targeted messages to recruit men and by testing a novel approach to weight control that holds promise as an alternative to traditional behavioral therapy for men.
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Rights statement
  • In Copyright
  • Tate, Deborah
  • Ward, Dianne
  • Bowling, J. Michael
  • Lutes, Lesley
  • Ribisl, Kurt
  • Doctor of Philosophy
Degree granting institution
  • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Graduate School
Graduation year
  • 2015
Place of publication
  • Chapel Hill, NC
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