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Scenes from The University of Rhode Island

Older adults needed for study on weight loss, strength training

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Study looking for seniors in South Kingstown, North Kingstown,
Cranston and Warwick

KINGSTON, R.I. – June 25, 2009 – The University of Rhode Island wants to help older adults dealing with obesity reclaim a more active and independent lifestyle.

The University’s Department of Kinesiology and Department of Nutrition and Food Science are looking for overweight and obese adults ages 55 to 80 who are willing to participate in a 10-week program to start in early September that will look at the effect of weight loss and physical activity on an individual’s physical function, and heart risk factors.

This is Phase II of the URI Dietary Education and Active Lifestyle (UR-IDEAL) Study, which is funded through a $100,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. In this phase, URI professors and students will go to four senior centers in Rhode Island twice a week throughout the fall. The centers are in South Kingstown, North Kingstown, Cranston and Warwick. URI needs 100 participants in the study (25 at each site), with an even split between men and women.

Matthew Delmonico, assistant professor of kinesiology, and Ingred Lofgren, assistant professor of nutrition and food sciences, are the co-principal investigators for the program. While health research is a key element, Delmonico said community outreach and improving the lives of seniors is the main goal of the program.

“We want to be able to help people in the community,” 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. The exercises and dietary modifications we will teach them can be incorporated into their everyday lives.”

URI faculty and students will bring portable resistance training equipment to each of the sites. Elastic bands, light dumbbells and other equipment will be incorporated in the exercise training aspect, which uses more rapid exercise movements to build strength and improve physical function.

All participants also will partake in a weight loss program that includes nutritional counseling with a registered dietician that will employ the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension program. This part of the program will focus on increasing whole grain, unsaturated fats and fiber intake while reducing sodium, saturated/trans fats and sugar intake.

Delmonico said the goal is to use data from the study to gain better understanding of the most effective 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, email urideal@etal.uri.edu or visit www.uri.edu/hss/physical_education/uridealstudy.html.