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NORC News

Dutton is granted R01 to study improving long-term weight loss outcomes

June 30, 2015

Gareth R. Dutton, PhD, associate professor in the Division of Preventive Medicine and scientist of the Nutrition Obesity Research Center (NORC), has received a R01 grant from the National Institutes of Health to conduct a randomized controlled trial comparing the effects of a fixed energy reduction (FER) with a 750 kcal/d deficit and a variable energy reduction (VER) that alternates between 500 and 1,000 kcal/d deficits at two-week intervals. The study “Alternating Caloric Goals during Treatment to Improve Long-Term Outcomes” previously won Dr. Dutton a UAB Nutrition Obesity Research Center “Creativity is a Decision” Faculty Award (2013). This competition, which allows investigators to submit their most creative ideas, is designed to provide such funding opportunities.

Dr. Dutton and fellow investigators hypothesize that while varying energy reduction (ER) “during obesity treatment has not been rigorously evaluated, doing so may have psychological and behavioral advantages (increased novelty, engagement) as well as metabolic benefits (attenuated changes in resting metabolic rate and appetite-regulating hormones).”  If VER as an alternative to a conventional FER produces significant outcomes in this novel investigation, it would have significant implications for obesity treatment and dietary recommendations.

Says Dr. Dutton, “By examining a variety of behavioral, psychological, and biological variables, this study may provide additional information about potential mechanism by which different ER prescriptions promote weight loss and weight loss maintenance.”

Dr. Dutton’s research interests include behavioral and preventive medicine research, focusing on lifestyle interventions for weight loss, physical activity, and diabetes prevention, with a particular emphasis on behavioral interventions as implemented in applied and community-based settings, especially in regard to underserved and minority populations.