Physical activity within a community-based weight control program: Program evaluation and predictors of success

D. Neumark-Sztainer, N. A. Kaufmann, E. M. Berry

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Objectives: To assess the feasibility and effectiveness of adding physical activity sessions to a weight control program in a community health center and to identify individuals suitable for outpatient group treatment with and without physical activity. Methods: The study population included 42 overweight women who were randomly divided into treatment groups. Both treatment groups received guidance in nutrition and behavior modification and the exercise group also participated in physical activity sessions. Both treatments included 20 sessions and participants were followed up for eight months. Results: In both treatments, significant improvements were seen in physical fitness, anthropometric measurements, nutritional knowledge, food consumption, and eating behaviors. Weight loss following three months of weekly sessions did not differ by treatment group. At follow-up there was a trend towards increased maintenance of weight loss in the exercise group, however differences were not statistically significant. Attrition rates were low in both treatments and participant satisfaction was high. Lower baseline BMI predicted larger weight losses, in particular in the exercise group. Other predictors of weight loss included poorer baseline eating behaviors and employment outside of the home. Perceived spouse support predicted continual participation. Conclusions: The introduction of a weight control program into a community-based health clinic was feasible and effective, although the advantages of adding physical activity sessions were not clear-cut. The addition of physical activity to community-based weight control programs may be most beneficial for women who are modestly overweight. If feasible, sessions should be offered more than weekly.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)237-251
Number of pages15
JournalPublic Health Reviews
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1995


  • Community
  • Exercise
  • Weight reduction


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