Robin Masheb, PhD, Senior Research Scientist in Psychiatry and Director of the Veterans Initiative for Eating and Weight at the VA Connecticut Healthcare System in West Haven, is the senior author of a paper published in Appetite that examines the relationship between pain and modifiable risk factors among overweight veterans who seek to lose weight.
The study sample was 126 veterans who were referred to MOVE!, the VA's outpatient behavioral weight management program. Sixty percent reported having moderate or severe pain intensity when they started treatment for weight loss. One-third met screening criteria for depression, insomnia or posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
Researchers found that veterans who reported higher pain intensity and interference from pain had more severe insomnia, depression, and PTSD symptoms, which they theorized may add to the burden of veterans with pain who are initiating weight loss treatment. They said more research is needed to determine if tailoring interventions to the unique needs of this population of veterans will improve engagement and outcomes of behavioral weight loss treatments.