Effectiveness of a Group Lifestyle Balance Class in an Active Duty Population


Name: Nicole Armitage

Rank: Lt Col

Organization: The Geneva Foundation

Performance Site: David Grant Medical Center, Travis AFB, CA

Year Published: 2015

Abstract Status:


Many U.S. military members are overweight or struggling with unwanted weight gain.  Excessive weight not only can cause Airmen to be at higher risk for chronic diseases such as diabetes and heart disease but also make it more difficult to pass their fitness assessments. Development of chronic disease or persistent excessive weight gain may adversely affect the ability of active duty members to optimally perform their mission.  In addition, excessive weight gain could lead to a failure of a fitness assessment which could in turn lead to administrative actions and negatively impact career progression.  The Group Lifestyle BalanceTM (GLB) class has been shown to be effective in preventing diabetes, facilitating weight loss, and increasing activity levels in civilian pre-diabetic populations.  However, the effectiveness of this class in preventing chronic illnesses, facilitating weight loss, and improving overall physical functioning and well-being has not been studied in active duty populations. We propose to examine the effectiveness of the GLB class on active duty Airmen through a randomized control intervention study. We will do this by measuring changes in the following health indicators: HgbA1c, lipids, abdominal circumference, weight, and self-perception of health as measured by the RAND SF-36 and comparing changes between two intervention groups and a control group. Participants will be randomly assigned to either a 6-month GLB program, a newly available 5 week Better Body Better Life (BBBL) program or the currently available on-line Fitness Improvement Program (FIP) which will serve as the control group. In addition feedback will be sought from participants through a questionnaire about each intervention to determine usefulness of the programs to active duty individuals. We plan to recruit participants from the Travis AFB Medical Treatment Facility.  Eligibility criteria are active duty Airmen who have abdominal circumference measurements of over 31.5 inches for women and 35 inches for men or BMIs greater than 25kg/m2. An estimated 69 participants (23 in each group) will be needed to achieve adequate power for data analyses. Therefore a total of 87 participants will be sought to allow for 20% attrition.

The overweight and obesity rates in military personnel have been found to be as high as 60%.  Excessive weight has been associated with increased risks of diabetes and heart disease. The national health care costs of treating diabetes and heart disease is estimated to be around $3 billion annually which also means significant costs to the Military Health System. In addition, overweight Airman risk poor fitness assessment performance and lost duty time thus increasing costs further and decreasing mission readiness.