UNMC study in 5-county area to examine ways to keep weight off

Study will compare two strategies to find effective way to maintain weight after weight loss

Losing weight is difficult. But keeping it off may be even more difficult.

A University of Nebraska Medical Center College of Nursing research study will compare two strategies with the goal of finding an effective way to maintain weight after weight loss.

Researchers will study 50 women between the ages of 40 and 64 who have lost at least 5 percent of their body weight in the past six months. The study will be conducted in a five-county area – Nemaha, Johnson, Otoe, Pawnee and Richardson.

The study is designed for women in rural areas where there may be less resources for physical activity. Study participants need to be able to walk at least one block, communicate in English, and have access to the Internet.

Most of the study is conducted through the Internet with participants accessing physical activity guidelines, dietary information and keeping track of weight three times a week. Participants also will make three visits over six months to the Southeast District Health Department to complete a cardiovascular fitness assessment along with a weight, height and blood pressure check. A small stipend is available for participants for each of the three visits.

“We can lose weight by dieting, but it feels like we’re restricting our behavior to get to our goals, said Teresa Barry Hultquist, Ph.D., assistant professor at the UNMC College of Nursing in Omaha. “Once we’ve reached the goal, it’s so easy to slide back into former behaviors. Unless we increase our physical activity to burn more calories, we’ll gain the weight back.”

Dr. Barry Hultquist said balancing calorie intake with physical activity is important to maintaining weight loss. She said a lifelong commitment to increased physical activity also can  prevent disabilities caused by diabetes and heart disease.

“Making lifestyle changes also is about creating realistic expectations,” Dr. Barry Hultquist said. “It’s OK to start small. Small steps lead to big changes. My hope is some of the things we’ll try will help women change their lifestyle and adapt it for a lifetime.”

At 52 years old, Suzanne Whisler of Auburn, determined to be a healthier grandma, lost 20 pounds by eating healthier and introducing exercise back into her life. She said she went from the couch to running a 5K.

With a sedentary job, she soon found her weight creeping back up a few pounds. She joined the study in hopes of gaining more healthy eating habits that will last a lifetime. “I feel a lot better mentally and physically about myself. It’s never too late to change.”

The study is part of the UNMC’s College of Nursing Interdisciplinary Healthy Heart Center, funded by the National Institutes of Health’s National Institute of Nursing Research.

For more information, contact Dr. Barry Hultquist at 402-559-6538 or tbarry@unmc.edu, or contact the Southeast District Health Department at 1-877-777-0424.

Through world-class research and patient care, UNMC generates breakthroughs that make life better for people throughout Nebraska and beyond. Its education programs train more health professionals than any other institution in the state. Learn more at unmc.edu.




Vicky Cerino
UNMC Public Relations
(402) 559-5190