Center on Psychiatric Disability and Co-Occurring Medical Conditions

Training Projects /
Weight Management and Well-being

Overweight and obesity are highly prevalent among people with mental illnesses and lead to medical conditions that can be prevented or better managed with improved nutrition and physical activity. This project created a research-based curriculum and exercise videos for improving weight management and wellness.

Center staff partnered with Dr. Catana Brown at the Midwestern University – Glendale and her colleagues to develop this new curriculum. It is a modified version of the successful RENEW (Recovering Energy through Nutrition and Exercise for Weight Loss) Program that targets weight management and health needs of people with psychiatric disabilities. RENEW addresses weight loss through education and skill building to improve diet and physical activity. Results of a randomized controlled trial involving 89 individuals found that the intervention group lost an average of 5.4 pounds at the end of the 3 month intensive phase. At 6-month follow-up, they maintained this weight loss while the weight of the control group remained stable during this same time period.

Dr. Brown and colleagues used the forgoing research to develop NEW-R, a free, downloadable curriculum for use in real-world community settings. The curriculum includes a facilitator’s manual, a participant’s manual, and a series of exercise videos designed collaboratively with occupational therapists and people in recovery. A number of workshops have been held at national conferences to teach peers and providers how to deliver the new curriculum.

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Rehabilitation Research & Training Center on Long-Term Mental Illness
Employment Intervention Demonstration Project
Center on Mental Health Services Research and Policy
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