Partnering With WIC to Prevent Excessive Weight Gain in Pregnancy

  • End date
    Jun 30, 2023
  • participants needed
  • sponsor
    Temple University
Updated on 23 January 2021


The purpose of this study is to determine the effect of an antenatal obesity treatment on gestational weight gain when integrated into Philadelphia WIC.


Institute of Medicine (IOM) guidelines for weight gain in pregnancy are clear, but evidence-based treatment approaches are not widely available. This evidence gap is particularly pressing for medically vulnerable women - those who are low income and often racial/ethnic minorities. These women have the highest rates of obesity, but almost no resources to support weight control in pregnancy. Without intervention, most will exceed Institute of Medicine recommended gains and incur significant morbidity for themselves and their children. There is preliminary data from the investigators supporting the efficacy of digital health platforms for delivering antenatal obesity treatment among the medically vulnerable. However, the investigators' inexpensive, easily scalable approach has not been integrated and tested in real world settings, limiting broad reach and dissemination potential. Dissemination considerations are especially pressing for socioeconomically disadvantaged and minority populations because of these groups' higher obesity risk, greater potential for experiencing obesity-related comorbidities in pregnancy, and limited finances to afford alternative treatments. The Women, Infants and Children (WIC) Food and Nutrition Program is the leading public health nutrition program for pregnant women and their children in the US, and thus, it is in a unique position to meaningfully impact the obesity epidemic among the more than 9 million disadvantaged participants it serves annually. Yet no demonstrations of effective gestational weight gain interventions exist in WIC. The investigators propose a pragmatic trial designed to rigorously test their antenatal obesity treatment approach integrated into Philadelphia WIC community clinics. The investigators have long-standing relationships with WIC staff and prior experience conducting pragmatic clinical trials in under-resourced settings. The investigators will randomize 438 African American and Hispanic Philadelphia County WIC participants with obesity in early pregnancy to one of two treatment arms: 1) standard WIC care; or 2) an antenatal obesity treatment arm, which includes empirically supported behavior change goals, regular self-monitoring text messages with automated feedback, tailored skills training materials, and counseling from WIC nutritionists. The primary outcome is prevalence of excessive gestational weight gain; the investigators will additionally examine changes in diet and physical activity, health-related quality of life, and rates of adverse pregnancy outcomes. They will use the RE-AIM (Reach, Effectiveness, Adoption, Implementation, Maintenance) framework to evaluate the intervention's dissemination potential and cost effectiveness in the WIC setting. The proposed project will constitute the first systematic translation of a comprehensive antenatal obesity treatment program focused on low-income, racial/ethnic minorities, using the strengths of mHealth (mobile health) and WIC provider counseling for intervention delivery.

Condition adiposity, Overweight, Obesity, Pregnancy Related
Treatment Antenatal Obesity Treatment (AO)
Clinical Study IdentifierNCT03707834
SponsorTemple University
Last Modified on23 January 2021


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Inclusion Criteria

Is your age greater than or equal to 18 yrs?
Are you female?
Do you have any of these conditions: Pregnancy Related or Overweight or Obesity or adiposity?
BMI 25 kg/m2
Self-identify as African American or Hispanic
Gestational age 16 weeks' (measured using last menstrual period)
Philadelphia WIC participant
Willingness to receive study texts
Own a cell phone with an unlimited text messaging plan
Able to participate in light to moderate physical activity (walking)

Exclusion Criteria

Prior bariatric surgery
Pre-existing medical condition that could influence weight (e.g., diabetes, HIV, thyroid disorder, bulimia, anorexia, gallbladder disease)
Diagnosis contraindicating weight control (e.g., hyperemesis gravidarum)
Shared phone
Multiple pregnancy (e.g., twins)
Current and/or previous participant for our Temple-led obesity treatment interventions in pregnancy or the postpartum period
Serious or unstable medical or psychological conditions that, in the opinion of the PI, would compromise the subject's safety for successful participation in the study
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