Onsite Dietician Counseling Benefits Overweight Patients

Regular counseling during office visits may lead to sustained weight loss, improved lipid levels

THURSDAY, July 12 (HealthDay News) -- Patients who consult with a dietician during regular doctor visits may experience sustained improvements in body weight, lipid levels and blood pressure, according to the results of a study published in the July issue of the American Journal of Cardiology.

Francine K. Welty, M.D., Ph.D., of the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, and colleagues studied 80 overweight or obese patients (average age 55). A dietician counseled the patients to exercise 30 minutes per day and adopt a modified Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet.

After a mean follow-up of 1.75 years, the researchers found that the patients had lost an average of 5.6 percent (10.8 pounds) of their body weight. After a mean follow-up of 2.6 years, they found that 64 (81 percent) of patients had maintained significant weight loss. They also observed significant average decreases in low-density lipoprotein (9.3 percent), triglycerides (34 percent) and blood pressure (129 to 126 mm Hg systolic and 79 to 75 mm Hg diastolic), and a significant increase in high-density lipoprotein (9.6 percent).

"Having a dietitian counsel patients concurrently with a physician in the outpatient setting is effective in achieving and maintaining weight loss and is fully reimbursable," the authors conclude.

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