New Study at Miriam Hospital Targets Weight Gain Prevention in Young Adults

Tuesday, September 07, 2010


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The Study of Novel Approaches to Prevention (SNAP), funded by the National Institutes of Health, will compare two different behavioral approaches to weight gain prevention in 18- to-35-year-olds in an innovative new study based at The Miriam Hospital’s Weight Control and Diabetes Research Center. One is focused on small lifestyle changes, such as walking an extra mile each day, while the other involves larger changes, like going on a periodic diet, as a buffer against future weight gain. SNAP is a larger extension of a recent pilot study, published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, which found that both strategies can yield positive results, including some initial weight loss.

“We know it gets harder to lose the weight as you get older, so preventing weight gain during young adulthood is critical to reducing the obesity epidemic,” said SNAP principal investigator Rena Wing, PhD, director of the Weight Control and Diabetes Research Center and professor of psychiatry and human behavior at The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University. According to Wing, who also led the smaller pilot study, there has been little research on how to prevent weight gain in young adults, yet between the ages of 18 and 35, Americans typically undergo some major transitions that studies have shown can trigger weight gain, including entering the workforce, getting married and becoming pregnant.

Study Eligibility

Men and women between the ages of 18 and 35 who are either at a healthy weight or slightly overweight (BMI ranging from 21 to 30) are needed for this study. All SNAP participants will receive regular personalized feedback on their calorie expenditure, blood pressure, body fat percentage and cholesterol levels, along with a detailed analysis of their diet and exercise patterns and access to online weight management tools. Participants may be required to come back for group sessions during the first several months and for annual refresher groups throughout their enrollment in the study. There are no costs for participating and compensation for time will be provided. Modest weight loss can be expected. For more information or to enroll, please visit


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