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HEAL Research

If you are interested in participating in a research study that is open for enrollment, please call us at 865-974-0752 or e-mail us at

Families Becoming Healthy Together – Enrolling now
Families Becoming Healthy Together is evaluating if a family-based childhood overweight and obesity treatment program, that has goals for healthy eating and physically activity for both the child and adult caregiver, can improve child weight at 18 months. Eligible families must have an adult who is at least 18 years old and 20-75 pounds away from ideal weight, and a child with overweight or obesity between the ages of 8-12 years.

Foods within a Meal and Food Liking Study – Enrolling Now
The Foods within a Meal and Food Liking Study evaluates how different types of food within a meal influence the liking of foods. Participants are served chicken noodle soup, sugar-free chocolate pudding, grapes, strawberry yogurt, macaroni and cheese, vanilla ice cream, pretzels, and graham crackers. Both men and women between the ages of 18-35 and free of dietary restrictions are eligible for this study. A $25 gift card will be given to participants for their involvement.

Prevention Plus Study- Closed to Enrollment
Addressing health disparities is important in improving the nation’s health, and translating evidence-based guidelines into community settings that provide integrated primary care to the underserved may assist in achieving this goal. HEAL is partnering with Cherokee Health Systems, a federal qualified health center in East Tennessee, to implement and evaluate the Prevention Plus program to address childhood obesity. Additionally, household food insecurity status will be examined as a possible moderator of treatment outcome. Families with a child between the ages of 4 and 10 years, who are > 85th percentile body mass index, and receiving their primary care at Cherokee Health Systems are eligible to participate.

Influence of Changes in Food Group Variety on Food Cravings, Energy Intake, and Weight Loss after Bariatric Surgery – Closed to Enrollment
This study is examining changes in food group variety and food cravings on weight loss in individuals who have undergone bariatric surgery. Measures of dietary intake, food cravings, and weight loss will be taken before surgery and at 3, 6, and 12 months after surgery. Results of this study may have significant clinical implications for postoperative dietary recommendations for those who have had bariatric surgery. Collaborators on this project are the Tennessee Weight Loss and Surgery Center at the University of Tennessee Medical Center.

Weight Watchers Online Study – Closed to Enrollment
The purpose of the study is to evaluate the effect of the Weight Watchers’ Online program on weight loss. This is a 12-month study that will compare three different online programs. Men and women may be eligible if they are between the ages of 18 and 70 and could lose 20 to 70 pounds. Participants are asked to attend five appointments at the Healthy Eating and Activity Laboratory. All aspects of the study are provided at no cost.

Timing of Meals for Weight Loss (TIME) – Closed to Enrollment
TIME is investigating the effect of the timing of when and how much is eaten on weight loss during obesity treatment. This program is an 8-week weight loss intervention. If you are between the ages of 25 and 65 and overweight or obese, you may be eligible. The program is provided free of charge to participants. You will learn about physical activity, nutrition, and tools to develop a healthy lifestyle. All treatment sessions are held at the Healthy Eating and Activity Laboratory on the University of Tennessee, Knoxville campus.

Eat Well for Life- Closed to Enrollment
Eat Well for Life is a 6-month study designed to examine the effect of different dietary strategies on weight loss maintenance in overweight and obese adults aged 21-65. The two phases of this study are weight loss and weight maintenance, with each phase lasting 3 months. The weight loss phase consists of consuming two meal replacement beverages for two meals, one snack, and one conventional meal per day. Individuals that lose 6% of their body weight during the weight loss phase will be randomized to one of two groups for weight loss maintenance. Randomized individuals will follow an eating plan that focuses on lowering the energy density of the diet or that focuses on reducing calorie intake. All aspects of treatment are provided at no cost, including meal replacements.

The Effect of Variety on Physical Activity – Closed to Enrollment
This laboratory-based investigation is examining the effect of engaging in a greater variety of active videogames on liking of activity in 30 non-obese, regularly active adults. Participants will complete 3 sessions in the HEAL laboratory in which they will play active videogames. Participants are compensated for their time.