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Candidates needed for study on weight loss and physical activity

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URI looking for overweight adults ages 60 to 75

KINGSTON, R.I. – July 29, 2008 – Looking to age with more grace and less girth? Then you should join a research project at the University of Rhode Island designed to help older citizens reclaim a more active and independent lifestyle.

URI is looking for overweight adults ages 60 to 75 willing to participate in a study that will look at the effect of weight loss and physical activity on an individual’s physical function, and heart risk factors.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture provided $100,000 for the URI Dietary Education and Active Lifestyle (UR-IDEAL) Study, a collaborative program between the university’s Department of Kinesiology and its Department of Nutrition and Food Sciences.

Matthew Delmonico, assistant professor of kinesiology, and Ingrid E. Lofgren, assistant professor of food science and nutrition, are collaborating on this innovative research study. Delmonico said one of the goals of the study is to help individuals change their lifestyle habits, with the hope that participants will maintain the changes long term.

“Healthy weight loss is now recommended for relatively healthy overweight and obese older adults to help prevent chronic disease,” Delmonico said. “The goal now is to determine the best combination of interventions to optimize body composition for long-term health.”

Delmonico and Lofgren are seeking 30 individuals to participate in this 10-week study. Individuals may qualify if they are overweight or obese, are not involved in a regular exercise program and have remained within 10 pounds of their current weight over the last four months. Individuals also must be willing to attend regular meetings and physical activity sessions on the URI Kingston campus.

All participants will partake in a weight loss program that includes nutritional counseling, while half of the participants will be randomly selected to participate in a supervised resistance training.

Every participant will undergo mild physical testing involving such activities as a 400-meter walk around a track and standing up from a seated position in a chair. There also will be testing for cholesterol, glucose and insulin levels, as well as DNA analysis.

Each participant will undergo tests for muscle strength, physical functioning and body composition. There also will be tests done for cholesterol, glucose, insulin levels, and other potential risk factors for chronic disease. Participants will be given their individual results at the end of the study.

Delmonico said the goal is to use data from the study to gain better understanding of the most sound interventions for healthy aging and to secure funding for larger scale community outreach programs focused on senior nutrition and exercise awareness.

For more information on the URI research project, call 401-874-4956 or email urideal@etal.uri.edu.