Evaluation of the Raleigh Wellness Project: a Community-Based Group Lifestyle Modification Program
Dolly C. Penn, MD, MSCR; Bhavini P. Murthy, MD, MPH; Connor Karr, BS; Jacqueline R. Halladay, MD, MPH; Benjamin Fischer, MD
Background: Obesity is associated with increased risk for comorbid conditions. Loss of 5% of body weight is associated with improved health but making lifestyle modifications to facilitate weight loss is challenging for many adults. The Raleigh Wellness Project was founded by a primary care physician in Raleigh, North Carolina to assist individuals in overcoming barriers to living healthier lifestyles. We evaluated the Raleigh Wellness Project to assess the program’s effectiveness in 1) facilitating weight loss, 2) improving physical capacity and 3) reducing clinical markers of comorbid conditions among overweight and/or obese individuals.
Method: We identified participants who completed the Raleigh Wellness Project, a twelve-week group-based lifestyle modification program, from 2012-2014. Using STATA version 11 we conducted a pre-post intervention analysis using paired t-tests to compare participant data at baseline and after program completion.
Results: Among the 100 participants included in the evaluation, the average age was 62 years, 59% were male, 85% were Caucasian, and 59% were commercially insured. Forty-two percent of participants had ³5% weight loss (average 4.6%). In the pre-post intervention analysis, program participation was associated with significant reductions in weight (p<0.00001), BMI (p<0.00001), waist circumference (p<0.00001), systolic blood pressure (p<0.00001), diastolic blood pressure (p=0.0001), and triglycerides (p=0.001). There was also a significant increase in the total number of laps participants walked in 30 minutes (p<0.00001).
Conclusion: The Raleigh Wellness Project, a community-based group lifestyle modification program, was effective in facilitating participant weight loss with resultant improvements in blood pressure, triglyceride levels and physical activity capacity. The program addresses challenges encountered by many adults who attempt lifestyle modifications in solitude.