We examined the initial effects of a real-world application of a multimodal, reimbursable program to improve lifestyle and promote healthy weight loss in cancer survivors as part of their care.
The lifestyle program (Integrative Medicine Fitness Program; IM-FIT) focusing on increasing physical activity and strength training, improving nutrition, and facilitating stress management and behavior change was delivered in a group format over 12 weeks. Patients met weekly with a physical therapist, dietitian, and psychologist. Body composition and behavioral data were collected at the start and end of 12 weeks, as well as fitness, nutrition, and psychological data. The first cohort started in September 2017, and the last cohort ended in August 2019.
Twenty-six patients (92% female; mean age = 62.7, SD = 9) completed the program, which was pre-approved and covered as in-network by their health insurance. Patients lost an average of 3.9% of their body weight (SD =  - 2.2). There was a significant reduction in white bread and desserts and increase in legumes and non-dairy milk. Time spent in vigorous exercise (p < .001), strength training (p < .001), and total exercise (p < .001) significantly increased. Patients reported reduction in depression (7.76 to 4.29; p = .01), anxiety (6.14 to 3.29; p < .01), and overall distress (4.70 to 3.40; p < .01).
We demonstrated that a multi-disciplinary weight loss program can be tailored to cancer survivors leading to weight reduction and improvements in lifestyle factors and mental health. This program showed successful real-world implementation with insurance reimbursement.