By Tony Nunez

This is part 3 of a 3 part Q&A series that answers: What does current research tell us about aerobic fitness and metformin, strength training recovery times, and obesity intervention methods?

Part 1: Can metformin have a negative impact on cardiorespiratory fitness?

Part 2: What difference does recovery time make in strength training performance?

The percentage of middle-aged U.S. adults with obesity is reportedly 40%, with higher levels for poorer and less educated adults, despite health professionals’ efforts to stress the importance of physical activity and healthy eating. Barriers to a healthier lifestyle range from financial burden to travel difficulty and lack of education. Given these obstacles, the study authors investigated the use of video conferencing to deliver exercise classes and discuss nutrition with patients.

Researchers compared three lifestyle interventions—clinic-based, community-based and video conference—and their associated attendance and weight loss results after 6 and 12 months. Participants, mean age 53 years, were predominantly female (82%) and predominantly African-American (65%). All 150 participants were considered obese, with a mean body mass index of 38.9, and half reported a household income of $18,000 or less. In terms of weight loss, the study measured the percentage of participants who lost >2 kilograms (>4.4 pounds) of body weight.

Surprisingly, according to the authors, there was no statistically significant difference in weight loss between the three intervention types after 12 months. When baseline observations were taken into account, available data showed that 29%, 29% and 34% of participants in clinic-based, community-based and video-conferencing interventions, respectively, experienced weight loss of more than 4.4 pounds. The study abstract noted that attendance was poor all round; in those same groups, percentages attending at least one session were 15%, 45% and 58%, respectively.

Reference: Clark, D.O., et al. 2019. Outcomes of an RCT of videoconference vs. in-person or in-clinic nutrition and exercise in midlife adults with obesity. Obesity Science and Practice, 5 (2), 111–19.