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J Natl Med Assoc. 2009 Jun;101(6):552-64.

A pilot trial of spirituality counseling for weight loss maintenance in African American breast cancer survivors.

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  • 1Department of Family Medicine, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan 48109-5930, USA.


A continuing challenge in weight loss treatment is attaining maintenance of weight loss. The goal of this study was to develop a counseling method that would assist African American breast cancer survivors with weight loss maintenance. In this pilot study, 31 obese breast cancer survivors were recruited. Individualized, dietitian-led counseling by telephone and free Weight Watchers coupons were provided to all participants for 18 months. At the 6-month time point, women were randomized to receive spirituality counseling or not in addition to the standard program. The spirituality counseling was delivered via telephone using an 8-step framework. Subjects were asked to utilize daily meditation or prayer, daily readings, and the recording of thoughts in a journal. Mean weight loss from baseline to 6 months was a modest 2.0% of baseline weight. From 6 to 18 months, there was no further weight change in the spirituality arm and a gain of 0.7% in the dietitian-only arm. Despite little effect on weight loss, it did appear that spirituality counseling positively affected spiritual well-being (FACIT-Sp) scores and dietary quality. The spirituality counseling framework therefore may be further refined and useful for other health promotion studies with African American populations.

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