Reach of Effective, Nationally-Available, Low-Cost, Nonprofit Weight Loss Program in Medically Underserved Areas (MUAs).
Obesity rates are higher for ethnic minority, low-income, and rural communities. Programs are needed to support these communities with weight management. We determined the reach of a low-cost, nationally-available weight loss program in Health Resources and Services Administration medically underserved areas (MUAs) and described the demographics of the communities with program locations. This is a cross-sectional analysis of Take Off Pounds Sensibly (TOPS) chapter locations. Geographic information systems technology was used to combine information about TOPS chapter locations, the geographic boundaries of MUAs, and socioeconomic data from the Decennial 2010 Census. TOPS is available in 30 % of MUAs. The typical TOPS chapter is in a Census Tract that is predominantly white, urban, with a median annual income between $25,000 and $50,000. However, there are TOPS chapters in Census Tracts that can be classified as predominantly black or predominantly Hispanic; predominantly rural; and as low or high income. TOPS provides weight management services in MUAs and across many types of communities. TOPS can help treat obesity in the medically underserved. Future research should determine the differential effectiveness among chapters in different types of communities.
Mitchell, NS; Nassel, AF; Thomas, D
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