UMMS Affiliation

UMass Worcester Prevention Research Center; Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences, Clinical and Population Health Research Program; Department of Medicine, Division of Preventive and Behavioral Medicine

Publication Date


Document Type



Behavioral Medicine | Community Health and Preventive Medicine | Health Services Administration | Health Services Research | Nutritional and Metabolic Diseases | Preventive Medicine | Public Health | Race and Ethnicity


Obesity remains a persistent public health and health disparity concern in the United States. Eliminating health disparities, particularly among racial/ethnic minority groups, is a major health priority in the US. The primary aim of this review was to evaluate representation of racial/ethnic sub-group members in behavioral weight loss interventions conducted among adults in the United States. The secondary aims were to assess recruitment and study design approaches to include racial/ethnic groups and the extent of racial/ethnic sub-group analyses conducted in these studies. PubMed, PsycInfo, Medline, and CINAHL were searched for behavioral weight loss intervention trials conducted in 2009-2015 using keywords: weight, loss, overweight, obese, intervention and trial. Most of the 94 studies included a majority of White participants compared to any other racial/ethnic group. Across the included studies, 58.9% of participants were White, 18.2% were African American, 8.7% were Hispanic/Latino, 5.0% were Asian and 1.0% were Native Americans. An additional 8.2% were categorized as "Other". Nine of the 94 studies exclusively included minority samples. Lack of adequate representation of racial and ethnic minority populations in behavioral trials limits the generalizability and potential public health impact of these interventions to groups that might most benefit from weight loss. Given racial/ethnic disparities in obesity rates and the burden of obesity and obesity-related diseases among minority groups in the United States, greater inclusion in weight loss intervention studies is warranted.


Intervention, Minority health, Race/ethnicity, Review, Weight loss

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© 2018 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Inc. This is an open access article under the CC BY-NC-ND license (

DOI of Published Version



Prev Med Rep. 2018 Feb 2;9:131-137. doi: 10.1016/j.pmedr.2018.01.012. eCollection 2018 Mar. Link to article on publisher's site

Journal/Book/Conference Title

Preventive medicine reports

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Link to Article in PubMed

PubMed ID


Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.