Assessing the impact of a group mediated cognitive behavioural (GMCB) intervention on health outcomes in an obese population


The overall goal of the Healthy Eating and Active Living for Tomorrow’s Health (HEALTH) study was to test the efficacy of a non-pharmaceutical treatment program for class I and II obese patients in a rural Eastern Canadian province. A secondary goal, and the focus of this presentation, was to test the added benefit of including a Group Mediated Cognitive Behavioural (GMCB) intervention on health, anthropometric, and psychosocial functioning outcomes. A cross-sectional pre and post intervention study measured the impact of a six-month active lifestyle intervention delivered by certified exercise physiologists, certified personal trainers and registered dieticians for all participants. This active intervention was followed by a six-month self-management period. The 146 participants (starting Body Mass Index between 30-40) came from rural and urban communities and were divided into four groups. Two (1 urban, 1 rural) of the groups also participated in a 12-session GMCB intervention delivered bi-weekly by an exercise psychologist. The suite of intervention strategies significantly improved cardiovascular health markers and anthropometric measures for participants in both groups. While differences in improvement on these markers were not observed for participants taking part in the additional GMCB sessions, the sessions were  beneficial. Specifically, overall attrition from the six-month active intervention was high (39%); however, attrition among the participants who received GMCB was significantly lower than the participants who did not (29% versus 50%). Other attendance and attrition metrics support the significant positive impact of GMCB in retaining participants in this successful intervention. This study provides strong evidence that an inter-professional community-based intervention program is effective in improving the health and well-being of class I and II obese participants. Despite the self-referral nature of the project, attrition was high and it therefore appears that GMCB intervention is an essential component to participant retention.  

Acknowledgments: Funding Acknowledgements: Canadian Institute for Health Research (MOP 110940) and the New Brunswick Health Research Foundation.