Role of apathy in the effectiveness of weight management programmes

C. V. Desouza, P. R. Padala, G. Haynatzki, P. Anzures, C. Demasi, V. Shivaswamy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Aims: Obesity, which is at epidemic proportions in the USA, is associated with a higher risk of several co-morbid diseases including, cardiovascular disease, cancer and sleep apnea. Weight loss and weight maintenance programmmes are difficult to sustain for long term. Mental health problems such as apathy may be a major factor in patients unsuccessful in adhering to weight loss programmes. We propose that treating apathy will result in better weight loss in obese patients. Methods: This was a randomized prospective pilot study. Obese patients (n = 101) were randomized in a 1:2:2 ratio to either (i) standard nutrition counselling; or (ii) the Department of Veterans Affairs weight loss programme called 'motivate obese veterans everywhere ' (MOVE); or (iii) methylphenidate treatment plus the MOVE programme together. The intervention was for 6 months (26 weeks). Results: For the within groups analysis, the absolute changes in weight (kg) are as follows, for MOVE (mean: -1.84; 95% confidence interval (CI): -4.56 to 0.87; p = 0.25), Methylphenidate (mean: -4.61; 95% CI: -7.90 to -1.33; p = 0.04), standard nutrition counselling (mean: -0.60; 95% CI: -2.59 to 1.39; p = 0.21), which indicates that although all three groups lost weight, only the methylphenidate group achieved statistical significance. The between group differences of the relative change in weight were not statistically different. The apathy evaluation score and the patient activation measure improved in all groups. Conclusion: Together these data suggest that treating apathy might be an important factor in the success of weight management programmes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)419-423
Number of pages5
JournalDiabetes, Obesity and Metabolism
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2012


  • Obesity therapy
  • Randomized trial
  • Weight loss therapy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Internal Medicine
  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Endocrinology


Dive into the research topics of 'Role of apathy in the effectiveness of weight management programmes'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this