Obesity and its cardiovascular complications affect many African Americans, according to background information in the article. Standard behavioral treatments for obesity appear to be less successful in African Americans than in whites. Cultural modifications to these standard programs-such as the inclusion of family members and support networks-may enhance their effectiveness. Shiriki K. Kumanyika, PhD, MPH, professor of Epidemiology at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine; Tom Wadden, PhD, Penn Medicine professor of Psychology in Psychiatry and Director of the Center for Weight and Eating Disorders; Marjorie A. Bowman, MD, professor of Family Medicine and Community Health, and colleagues, conducted a two-year trial of a culturally specific weight loss program among 344 African American men and women. The goal was to achieve and maintain a 5 percent to 10 percent weight loss. Components of the program included counseling that encouraged self-monitoring of food intake and physical activity, distribution of pedometers, group sessions involving weight and activity checks and skill building, and community-based field workshops such as cooking demonstrations and gym visits.
PENN Medicine is a $3.6 billion enterprise dedicated to the related missions of medical education, biomedical research, and excellence in patient care. PENN Medicine consists of the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine (founded in 1765 as the nation’s first medical school) and the University of Pennsylvania Health System.
Penn’s School of Medicine is currently ranked #3 in the nation in U.S.News & World Report’s survey of top research-oriented medical schools; and, according to the National Institutes of Health, received over $366 million in NIH grants (excluding contracts) in the 2008 fiscal year. Supporting 1,700 fulltime faculty and 700 students, the School of Medicine is recognized worldwide for its superior education and training of the next generation of physician-scientists and leaders of academic medicine.
The University of Pennsylvania Health System (UPHS) includes its flagship hospital, the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, rated one of the nation’s top ten “Honor Roll” hospitals by U.S.News & World Report; Pennsylvania Hospital, the nation’s first hospital; and Penn Presbyterian Medical Center, named one of the nation’s “100 Top Hospitals” for cardiovascular care by Thomson Reuters. In addition UPHS includes a primary-care provider network; a faculty practice plan; home care, hospice, and nursing home; three multispecialty satellite facilities; as well as the Penn Medicine at Rittenhouse campus, which offers comprehensive inpatient rehabilitation facilities and outpatient services in multiple specialties.