Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Biomedical Sciences (M.H.S.)


Biomedical Sciences


Inner-city communities are disproportionately impacted by obesity and chronic disease. The LOSE BIG Challenge is a motivational physical activity and nutrition education program offered to inner-city Grand Rapids, Michigan residents with diabetes or hypertension. Twenty-eight participants (26 women, 2 men) in a 12-week culturallybased weight loss program were studied. Before and after the intervention, height, weight, lifestyle information, readiness to change, eating behaviors, depression scores, and quality of life scores were measured. Participants were followed 4 and 6 months post intervention. At baseline, 86% of the participants were obese (BMI >30 kg/m2), 54% watched more than ten hours of television per week, 89% did not eat breakfast, and 82% did not weigh themselves at least once a week. While mean cognitive restraint scores for men and women were relatively close, women had much higher emotional eating, uncontrolled eating and inhibition mean scores at baseline. Participants showed significant decreases in mean BMI at the completion of the 12-week program (p<.001) and during the maintenance period, 4 months (p=.005) and 6 months (p=.001) postintervention. Quality of life, depression, cognitive restraint, emotional eating, uncontrolled eating, and inhibition scores all showed improvement. The results suggest that this motivational program may provide health benefits, improve quality of life and change eating habits of the participants for up to 6 months. Attendance was variable, indicating the challenges of reaching the inner-city minority community. We plan on following participants in the next LOSE BIG Challenge. The focus will be to provide financial incentives in hopes of decreasing the attrition and variability in attendance. The program will also be adjusted to provide a stronger focus on behavioral changes such as monitoring weight, eating breakfast and decreasing TV time.