Background and Aims: Despite the benefits of modest weight reduction for overweight patients with chronic liver disease, long-term maintenance of weight loss is difficult to achieve in clinical practice. The aims of this study were to determine if a nutrition research protocol could be translated into clinical practice and meet the demand for dietetic service, to evaluate the effectiveness and resource implications of intensive lifestyle intervention for weight loss, and to assess the effectiveness of standard dietetic therapy as a treatment option for patients unable to attend the program.
Method: Using a modified research protocol, an intensive weight reduction program was introduced into standard clinical care for overweight patients attending a tertiary hospital liver outpatient clinic. An audit of weight loss and cost outcomes was conducted.
Results: Ninety-three patients were referred to the dietetic service for weight management. Of these, 50 enrolled in an intensive lifestyle intervention, 18 received standard dietetic therapy and 25 refused any intervention. After 6 months, 83% of patients in the intensive intervention achieved weight loss with a significant decrease in weight (P < 0.001) and waist circumference (P < 0.001). In contrast, only 24% of patients receiving standard dietetic therapy achieved weight loss with no significant change in mean weight or waist circumference. Cost per kilogram weight loss after intensive intervention was $AU31 and continuation of lifestyle intervention was calculated to be less than $AU100 per patient per year.
Conclusions: A clinically based, intensive lifestyle intervention is a feasible treatment option for outpatient weight management in overweight patients with chronic liver disease. Providing patients who are unable to participate in intensive programs with standard dietetic therapy is not cost-effective.