Document Type


Publication Date


Publication Title

Journals of Gerontology - Series A: Biological Sciences and Medical Sciences


Department of Computer Science

Additional Department

Geisel School of Medicine



Older persons with obesity aged 65+ residing in rural areas have reduced access to weight management programs due to geographic isolation. The ability to integrate technology into health promotion interventions shows a potential to reach this underserved population. Methods

A 12-week pilot in 28 older rural adults with obesity (body mass index [BMI] ≥ 30 kg/m2) was conducted at a community aging center. The intervention consisted of individualized, weekly dietitian visits focusing on behavior therapy and caloric restriction with twice weekly physical therapist-led group strengthening training classes in a community-based aging center. All participants were provided a Fitbit Flex 2. An aerobic activity prescription outside the strength training classes was provided. Results

Mean age was 72.9 ± 5.3 years (82% female). Baseline BMI was 37.1 kg/m2, and waist circumference was 120.0 ± 33.0 cm. Mean weight loss (pre/post) was 4.6 ± 3.2 kg (4.9 ± 3.4%; p < .001). Of the 40 eligible participants, 33 (75%) enrolled, and the completion rate was high (84.8%). Objective measures of physical function improved at follow-up: 6-minute walk test improved: 35.7 ± 41.2 m (p < .001); gait speed improved: 0.10 ± 0.24 m/s (p = .04); and five-times sit-to-stand improved by 2.1 seconds (p < .001). Subjective measures of late-life function improved (5.2 ± 7.1 points, p = .003), as did Patient-Reported Outcome Measurement Information Systems mental and physical health scores (5.0 ± 5.7 and 4.4 ± 5.0, both p < .001). Participants wore their Fitbit 93.9% of all intervention days, and were overall satisfied with the trial (4.5/5.0, 1–5 low–high) and with Fitbit (4.0/5.0). Conclusions

A multicomponent obesity intervention incorporating a wearable device is feasible and acceptable to older adults with obesity, and potentially holds promise in enhancing health.



Original Citation

John A. Batsis, Curtis L. Petersen, Matthew M. Clark, Summer B. Cook, Francisco Lopez-Jimenez, Rima I. Al-Nimr, Dawna Pidgeon, David Kotz, Todd A. Mackenzie, and Steven J. Bartels. A Weight-Loss Intervention Augmented by a Wearable Device in Rural Older Adults with Obesity: A Feasibility Study.Journals of Gerontology - Series A: Biological Sciences and Medical Sciences, volume 76, number 1, pages 95–100. Oxford Academic, January 2021. doi:10.1093/gerona/glaa115. First published 8 May 2020.