Although not participating in the program, these people lost an average of approximately four kilograms, two years after their family members started the program.
People who live with a patient undergoing intensive weight loss therapy also benefit from this treatment. This has been demonstrated by a team of researchers from the Medical Research Institute of Hospital del Mar (IMIM-Hospital del Mar) together with doctors from Hospital del Mar and CIBER in Obesity and Nutrition Pathology (CIBERObn), in collaboration with IDIAPJGol, Institut Pere Virgilian Health Research Center (IISPV), IDIBELL, IDIBAPS and Sant Joan de Rios University Hospital. The study has been published in the journal International Journal of Obesity.
The study analyzed data from 148 family members of patients included in the PREDIMED-Plus Weight Loss and Lifestyle Program (PREVencióDIetaMEDiterranea Plus) over a two-year period. The researchers analyzed whether these people also indirectly benefited from the program, as they were not enrolled in the study and received no direct treatment. PREDIMED-Plus is a multicenter study in which a group of patients is pursuing an intensive weight-loss program based on a Mediterranean diet and a plan to promote physical activity.
Weight loss despite not being included in the program
Relatives (three out of four were the patient’s partners and the rest were children, parents, siblings, or some other degree of kinship), who lost an average of 1.25 kg of weight during the first year of the program, compared to relatives of patients in the control group (those who did not follow the intensive treatment Proposed by PREDIMED-Plus). This increased to nearly 4 kg in the second year. These numbers were better in cases where family members ate with the patient and, above all, when the patient himself was cooking.
The treatment aims to lose weight in obese people and have a high risk of cardiovascular disease by following the Mediterranean diet. “It has effects that go beyond just losing weight in the patient, and this has extended to their family environment,” explains Dr. Albert Goday, Director, Researcher on the project, Head of the Department of Endocrinology and Nutrition at Hospital Del Mar, Researcher in the Cardiovascular Risk and Nutrition Research Group at IMIM-Hospital del Mar and Researcher CIBERobn. The effect was contagious, and in this context it was, fortunately, a beneficial ‘infection’, which led to weight loss and improved eating habits. Dr. Goday notes that “of the many possible dietary approaches to losing weight, the Mediterranean diet-based approach is the easiest to share in a family environment.”
According to Dr. Olga Castaner, the final author of the study and a researcher in the Cardiovascular Risk and Nutrition Research Group at IMIM-Hospital del Mar and CIBERobn, the good results can be explained by an improved diet, given that the same infection is contagious and no effect in terms of physical activity was observed between Patients and their relatives. “
Family members have also shown an increased commitment to the Mediterranean diet, according to a questionnaire assessing adherence to dietary patterns. But the same wasn’t true in terms of physical activity. As Dr. Castaner notes, “In addition to weight loss, there has been a greater commitment to the Mediterranean diet, which has substantial health benefits, such as protection against cardiovascular disease and neurodegenerative risks.”
Dr. Albert Goday confirms that the results of the study “illustrate the effect of infection, and the effect of the corona, of the treatment program on relatives of participants participating in intensive weight loss procedures, in addition to increasing adherence to the Mediterranean diet.” “The beneficial effect of the program on one family member can extend to other family members, which is critical in terms of reducing the burden of obesity on the public health system,” he explains. Not only did the family members lose weight, but they also improved the quality of their diet.
The impact of the program on patients
The study also analyzed the results of the PREDIMED-Plus program in 117 patients. Compared to the control group participants, they lost 5.10 kg in the first year of the intervention and increased to 6.79 kg in the second year. They also significantly increased their levels of physical activity, as well as their commitment to the Mediterranean diet.
Zomeño, MD, Lassale, C., Perez-Vega, A. et al. Halo’s effect of a Mediterranean style weight-loss intervention on untreated family members’ weight and physical activity: a prospective study. Int J Opis (2021). https: /
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