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Supporting Healthy Life Choices: A Department of Preventive Medicine Mission

Dr. Krukowski, Dr. Klesges, and Dr. Johnson

Making healthy lifestyle changes can affect your health to- day and in the future. UTHSC’s Department of Preventive Medicine is home to faculty who conduct interdisciplinary research focused on improving the health of populations. With most New Year’s resolutions centered around healthy lifestyle changes, we’ve highlighted three of the department’s active Memphis-based research grants that focus on healthy behavior changes.

Fit & Quit Study 

Although the health benefits of smoking cessation out- weigh the negative impact of weight gain, ideally there would be intervention “packages” that would not require one to choose between smoking cessation and nontrivial weight gain. The goal of the 12 month long Fit & Quit project is to determine whether two promising, but intensive methods of reducing the amount of weight gained after quitting smoking: 1) an intervention focused on making small changes each day in eating and number of steps taken and 2) a weight loss intervention in order to counteract the weight likely to be gained by quitting smoking. These interventions will be compared to a less intensive condition that receives a weight management book prior to smoking cessation. All three conditions receive a behavioral intervention focused on how to quit smoking and 6 months of ChantixTM medication.

In the summer of 2017, Rebecca Krukowski, PhD, (pictured left) will start the recruitment process looking for 400 Memphis-area individuals to participate in the Fit & Quit study. Starting this month, she will be recruiting participants for focus groups and interviews to assist with finalizing the program materials. Interested individuals can learn more about the study by emailing fitquit@uthsc.edu or calling 901-448-3174.

Planning A Change Easily (PACE) research study

Approximately 90% of current smokers say they are not ready to quit in the next 30 days, but would consider making a quit attempt in the next year. The goal of the Planning A Change Easily (PACE) research study is to help smokers who are not ready to quit “move down the path” toward making a quit attempt. This study is active- ly recruiting adult smokers nationwide. Eligible participants must smoke at least five cigarettes per day and have a telephone. In this study, Robert C. Klesges, PhD, MS, BA, AA, (pictured center) will compare the effectiveness of four different forms of cognitive behavioral therapy for smokers who are not ready to quit: 1) Standard of Care, where participants receive information on the health consequences of smoking; 2) Motivational Interviewing, where participants define their own goals and motivations to quit; 3) Rate Reduction, where participants attempt to reduce their intake so that a future quit attempt is easier; and 4) Combination of Motivational Interviewing and Rate Reduction interventions. All study procedures take place over the phone, and participants are compensated for each study call. Results from this study will help develop better interventions for smokers not yet ready to make a change. For details, visit http://www.pacestudy.org or call 1-844-680-PACE.

Look AHEAD Extension study:

The Look AHEAD (Action for Health in Diabetes) study, which started in 2000, enrolled over 5,000 overweight or obese volunteers with type 2 diabetes. The study was formed to determine if Intensive Lifestyle Intervention (ILI) centered around weight loss through increased physical activity and healthy eating can improve the lives of older individuals with type 2 diabetes over time as they age. In 2012, the trial part stopped but continued as an observational study through 2016, showing that an Intensive Lifestyle Intervention that resulted in weight loss and increased physical activity could decreased blood pressure, decreased blood sugar levels, and decreased cholesterol levels. The study also showed that the intensive lifestyle intervention improved quality of life, improved incontinence, decreased sleep apnea, and that long-term weight loss is possible for people with type 2 diabetes. Karen C. Johnson, MD, MPH, (pictured right) and co-investigator Helmut Steinberg, MD, recently received a $2.3 million grant to pick up on where the previous study left off and continue through 2021. The Look AHEAD Extension Study will follow the same cohort from the previous study to answer the question do intensive lifestyle interventions successfully decrease mortality rates or age related issues such as frailty. According to Dr. Johnson, the outlook is positive.