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BATON ROUGE, LA - Pennington Biomedical Research Center and the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals' Women, Infants and Children program (WIC) are partnering to increase weight loss after pregnancy and help slow the growing United States obesity epidemic. Called E-Moms, this collaborative study will aid local women receiving WIC benefits in losing the weight gained during their pregnancy through a specially designed weight management program that will be delivered entirely through an 'app' Pennington Biomedical scientists have developed for smartphones.
E-Moms, a grant awarded by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), is part of a national research study being conducted at Pennington Biomedical Research Center and six additional sites across the U. S., including Baruch College in New York, NY, University of Colorado at Denver, Pepperdine University in Malibu, CA, Simmons College in Boston, MA, Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, MD, and University of California at San Francisco. Pennington Biomedical and Louisiana WIC will follow women and their children over a six month period, and provide them with a personalized weight management program in one of the two following categories:
The E-Moms intervention has been specifically designed with the postpartum mom in mind who is juggling many challenges to implement healthy habits with a new baby. The moms in this study will use the SmartLoss app to have daily contacts with Pennington dietitians. All the information about the mom's diet and physical activity is sent remotely through the app to the dietitian who can then provide personalized feedback and recommendations to improve success. This remote communication allows the mom to continue her daily life with little interruption.
More than two-thirds of women in the U. S. who are overweight and obese gain an unhealthy amount of weight during their pregnancy. Women who never return to their pre-pregnancy weight will begin their next pregnancy at a greater weight, leading to poorer health for both the mother and infant. This cycle contributes to increased obesity among reproductive age women.
"Mothers are the 'nutritional gatekeepers' for the family. Motherhood is a 'teachable moment' for adapting a healthier lifestyle for herself and her family," explains Leanne Redman, Ph.D., associate professor at Pennington Biomedical, head of the Reproductive Endocrinology Laboratory and co-principal investigator of the study. "We are very excited to be able to provide this unique opportunity to the mothers in our community. We hope to discover that modern technology like smartphones can effectively deliver health information to women, empowering them to successfully lose weight after having a child," added Dr. Redman.
"This is a tremendous opportunity to utilize technology to help curb the state's obesity problem while improving the health of Louisiana's mothers," said J.T. Lane, Assistant Secretary for Public Health. "We are confident that researchers at Pennington and at the other selected sites will be able to assist mothers while fine tuning this program to better benefit women everywhere."
Women who qualify for E-Moms include those who are:
The Pennington Biomedical Research Center is at the forefront of medical discovery as it relates to understanding the triggers of obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, cancer and dementia. It is a campus of Louisiana State University and conducts basic, clinical and population research. The research enterprise at Pennington Biomedical includes approximately 80 faculty and more than 25 post-doctoral fellows who comprise a network of 44 laboratories supported by lab technicians, nurses, dietitians, and support personnel, and 13 highly specialized core service facilities. Pennington Biomedical’s more than 500 employees perform research activities in state-of-the-art facilities on the 222-acre campus located in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.