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Original Investigation
March 5, 2019

Effect of Integrated Behavioral Weight Loss Treatment and Problem-Solving Therapy on Body Mass Index and Depressive Symptoms Among Patients With Obesity and Depression: The RAINBOW Randomized Clinical Trial

Author Affiliations
  • 1Department of Medicine and Institute of Health Research and Policy, University of Illinois, Chicago
  • 2Department of Health Research and Policy and Medicine, Stanford University, Palo Alto, California
  • 3Department of Medicine, Stanford University, Palo Alto, California
  • 4Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, University of Washington, Seattle
  • 5Department of Psychiatry, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
  • 6Center for Communications Science, RTI International, Seattle, Washington
  • 7Department of Biomedical Data Science, Stanford University, Stanford, California
JAMA. 2019;321(9):869-879. doi:10.1001/jama.2019.0557
Key Points

Question  Does an integrated collaborative care intervention improve weight loss and depressive symptoms among patients with obesity and depression?

Findings  In this randomized clinical trial that included 409 patients with obesity and depression, an intervention that integrated behavioral weight loss treatment and problem-solving therapy with as-needed antidepressant medications resulted in statistically significant reductions in body mass index compared with usual care (−0.7 vs −0.1, respectively) and depressive symptoms (−0.3 vs −0.1 on the 20-item Depression Symptom Checklist; score range, 0-4) at 12 months.

Meaning  A collaborative care intervention integrating behavioral weight loss treatment and problem-solving therapy with as-needed antidepressant medication led to statistically significant reductions in body mass index and depressive symptoms compared with usual care; however, the effect sizes were modest and of uncertain clinical importance.

Abstract

Importance  Coexisting obesity and depression exacerbate morbidity and disability, but effective treatments remain elusive.

Objective  To test the hypothesis that an integrated collaborative care intervention would significantly improve both obesity and depression at 12 months compared with usual care.

Design, Setting, and Participants  The Research Aimed at Improving Both Mood and Weight (RAINBOW) randomized clinical trial enrolled 409 adults with body mass indices (BMIs) of 30 or greater (≥27 for Asian adults) and 9-item Patient Health Questionnaire (PHQ-9) scores of 10 or greater. Primary care patients at a health system in Northern California were recruited from September 30, 2014, to January 12, 2017; the date of final 12-month follow-up was January 17, 2018.

Interventions  All participants randomly assigned to the intervention (n = 204) or the usual care control group (n = 205) received medical care from their personal physicians as usual, received information on routine services for obesity and depression at their clinic, and received wireless physical activity trackers. Intervention participants also received a 12-month intervention that integrated a Diabetes Prevention Program–based behavioral weight loss treatment with problem-solving therapy for depression and, if indicated, antidepressant medications.

Main Outcomes and Measures  The co–primary outcome measures were BMI and 20-item Depression Symptom Checklist (SCL-20) scores (range, 0 [best] to 4 [worst]) at 12 months.

Results  Among 409 participants randomized (mean age of 51.0 years [SD, 12.1 years]; 70% were women; mean BMI of 36.7 [SD, 6.4]; mean PHQ-9 score of 13.8 [SD, 3.1]; and mean SCL-20 score of 1.5 [SD, 0.5]), 344 (84.1%) completed 12-month follow-up. At 12 months, mean BMI declined from 36.7 (SD, 6.9) to 35.9 (SD, 7.1) among intervention participants compared with a change in mean BMI from 36.6 (SD, 5.8) to 36.6 (SD, 6.0) among usual care participants (between-group mean difference, −0.7 [95% CI, −1.1 to −0.2]; P = .01). Mean SCL-20 score declined from 1.5 (SD, 0.5) to 1.1 (SD, 1.0) at 12 months among intervention participants compared with a change in mean SCL-20 score from 1.5 (SD, 0.6) to 1.4 (SD, 1.3) among usual care participants (between-group mean difference, −0.2 [95% CI, −0.4 to 0]; P = .01). There were 47 adverse events or serious adverse events that involved musculoskeletal injuries (27 in the intervention group and 20 in the usual care group).

Conclusions and Relevance  Among adults with obesity and depression, a collaborative care intervention integrating behavioral weight loss treatment, problem-solving therapy, and as-needed antidepressant medications significantly improved weight loss and depressive symptoms at 12 months compared with usual care; however, the effect sizes were modest and of uncertain clinical importance.

Trial Registration  ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier: NCT02246413

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