LSU’s Pennington Biomedical Research Center has been awarded a five-year, $10 million research grant to compare obesity treatment options for low-income residents and minorities.

The Louisiana Trial to Reduce Obesity in Primary Care project will be led by Dr. Peter Katzmarzyk, Pennington Biomedical’s associate executive director for population and public health sciences. Scientists and clinicians from other LSU institutions, including LSU Health Shreveport and LSU Health New Orleans, Tulane University, Ochsner Health System and Xavier University of Louisiana, will take part in the study.

Patient Centered Outcomes Research Institute, a Washington, D.C.-based group, is funding the study, which will be the largest obesity treatment intervention conducted entirely within the primary care setting.

Louisiana ranks sixth in the nation for obesity; 33 percent of the state’s residents are considered obese. Nearly 42 percent of obese Louisianians are black, and almost 33 percent are Latino. One in two children in Louisiana is overweight or obese. Obesity-related medical costs in the state total about $1.4 billion annually.

Katzmarzyk said the project will revolutionize weight-loss efforts in historically underserved populations.

“The collaborators will translate clinical research developed at Pennington Biomedical for application in real-world medical settings,” he said.

Through partnerships with 18 primary care clinics, whose patient base is predominantly black, physicians and health coaches will assist in delivering education-based weight-loss interventions focused on finding strategies that best address patients’ needs.