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Dietitians Effective for Weight Loss in Obese Medicare Patients

Findings seen in trial of integration of intensive behavioral therapy into primary care practice

THURSDAY, Feb. 20, 2020 (HealthDay News) — Delivery of intensive behavioral therapy for obesity (IBTO) by registered dietitian nutritionists is effective and beneficial for Medicare beneficiaries, according to a study published online Feb. 20 in Family Practice.

Molly Jacobs, Ph.D., from East Carolina University in Greenville, South Carolina, and colleagues examined the integration of IBTO provided by a registered dietitian nutritionist into a primary care setting and evaluated clinical outcomes for Medicare Part B beneficiaries. The analysis included 2,097 female patients with a body mass index ≥30 kg/m² who were seen at an academic family medicine clinic in Eastern North Carolina (2016 to 2019).

The researchers observed statistically significant improvements in clinical outcomes from IBTO treatment, with decreased weight loss (nearly 3 lb) and lower body mass index (0.5 points). IBTO patients had a 0.1-unit lower hemoglobin A1c and took prescription medication an average of six fewer days than the control group. IBTO intensity did not predict success. The IBTO impact was lower among older and African-American patients.

“This [is] particularly important in light of the growing pressure on providers to track and demonstrate improved Medicare patient outcomes, which include weight status,” said coauthor Lauren Sastre in a statement.

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