The William G. McGowan Charitable Fund has announced a $9 million grant to Rush University Medical Center in Chicago to expand a program that helps patients reverse their metabolic syndrome through lifestyle changes.
Following a successful two-year pilot at Rush, the grant will support a clinical trial of the Eat, Love, Move (ELM) program for patients with metabolic syndrome, a cluster of conditions that includes increased blood pressure, high blood sugar, excess body fat around the waist, and abnormal cholesterol or triglyceride levels that occur together and increase risk of heart disease, stroke, and diabetes. Five partner sites — the University of Colorado Denver, the University of Missouri-Kansas City, the Obesity Institute at Geisinger Health System, the Wegmans School of Health & Nutrition at Rochester Institute of Technology, and Rush University Prevention Center — will recruit six hundred patients to participate in the trial, which will focus on whether the program can be scaled, produce a sustained reversal of the syndrome, and be a cost-effective investment for the healthcare system.
"ELM is a unique lifestyle intervention aimed at improving simultaneously diet, physical activity, and stress management. Its goal is to produce a sustained change in lifestyle and, as such, a sustained remission of metabolic syndrome and reduction in risk of diabetes and heart disease," said Lynda Powell, chair of the Department of Preventive Medicine at Rush. "During the pilot study, participants met weekly over six-months for exercise and nutritional counseling. They prepared and ate meals together in a relaxed, supportive setting. The program is steeped in the science of behavioral change aimed to translating initial changes into new, automatic habits."
"Following the Rush University Medical Center pilot, which resulted in over 50 percent of patients remaining in remission after two and a half years, we were eager to expand the initiative to all McGowan communities and beyond," said McGowan Fund executive director Diana Spencer. "We believe that healthy lifestyle and prevention are key in addressing the nation's healthcare crisis, and we are inspired by the people who have learned how much control they often have over their health outcomes."