Community-based weight loss and physical activity (PA) programs may help preserve mobility in older adults who are obese and in poor cardiovascular health, according to an article by Medscape Medical News based on the results of a translational, randomized controlled trial reported online January 24 in the Archives of Internal Medicine.
Within the community infrastructure of cooperative extension centers, older adults who were overweight or obese with cardiovascular disease or at risk for cardiovascular disease were randomly assigned to 1 of 3 interventions: PA, weight loss plus PA, or a successful aging education control. From January 17, 2005, to April 6, 2010, a total of 288 participants aged 60 to 79 years were enrolled. The main study endpoint was time in seconds to complete a 400-meter walk.
Follow-up testing at 18 months demonstrated a significant treatment effect for the weight loss plus PA group, with improved 400-meter walk time vs the physical activity group and the successful aging group. The greatest benefit was observed in participants with poorer mobility at baseline.
The magnitude of change in both the weight loss and PA groups was comparable with data from highly successful, center-based intervention research, said the authors, who call for future studies to expand this line of investigation to other community jurisdictions.