Project HELP: a Remotely Delivered Behavioral Intervention for Weight Regain after Bariatric Surgery

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APA Citation: 

Bradley, L. E., Forman, E. M., Kerrigan, S. G., Goldstein, S. P., Butryn, M. L., Thomas, J. G., ... & Sarwer, D. B. (2017). Project HELP: a remotely delivered behavioral intervention for weight regain after bariatric surgery. Obesity surgery, 27(3), 586-598.

Publication Topic: 
ACT: Empirical
Publication Type: 
Postoperative weight regain, Behavioral intervention, eHealth

Weight regain following bariatric surgery is common and potentially compromises the health benefits initially attained after surgery. Poor compliance to dietary and physical activity prescriptions is believed to be largely responsible for weight regain. Patients may benefit from developing specialized psychological skills necessary to engage in positive health behaviors over the long term. Unfortunately, patients often face challenges to physically returning to the bariatric surgery program for support in developing and maintaining these behaviors. Remotely delivered interventions, in contrast, can be conveniently delivered to the patient and have been found efficacious for a number of health problems, including obesity. To date, they have received little attention with bariatric surgery patients. The study aimed to evaluate a newly developed, remote acceptance-based behavioral intervention for postoperative weight regain.

Patients at least 1.5 years out from surgery who experienced postoperative weight regain were recruited to receive the 10-week intervention. Participants were assessed at baseline, mid-treatment, post-treatment, and at 3-month follow-up.

Support for the intervention’s feasibility and acceptability was achieved, with 70 % retention among those who started the program and a high mean rating (4.7 out of 5.0) of program satisfaction among study completers. On average, weight regain was reversed with a mean weight loss of 5.1 ± 5.5 % throughout the intervention. This weight loss was maintained at 3-month follow-up. Significant improvements in eating-related and acceptance-based variables also were observed.

This pilot study provides initial support for the feasibility, acceptability, and preliminary efficacy of a remotely delivered acceptance-based behavioral intervention for postoperative weight regain.

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