Yale University

Overweight/Obesity and Weight Gain among HIV-Positive Prisoners in Rhode Island: Prevalence and Intervention Feasibility

Principle Investigator(s):

Funder: NIMH through CIRA's Pilot Project Program
Project period: 10/03/2014 - 10/02/2015
Grant Type: Pilot Project

Abstract Text:

The majority of U.S. adults, including those living with HIV, are overweight or obese. People living with HIV who are obese or overweight run an increased risk for diabetes, cardio-vascular disease, and other metabolic abnormalities that may interfere with their HIV care and long-term health outcomes. From this, prevention and management of obesity/overweight has become a key component to HIV care. This aspect of care can be complicated in correctional settings where inmates have limited mobility and access to healthy food options. In addition, the paucity of data about prisoner weight and weight gain inhibits the development and implementation of nutrition/weight management programs for incarcerated people living with HIV.

The proposed collaboration between Yale and Brown Universities, in collaboration with the Rhode Island Department of Corrections (RI DOC), will build knowledge about the prevalence of overweight/obesity among incarcerated people living with HIV and document their weight fluctuation during incarceration by retrospectively analyzing the medical records of HIV-positive prisoners in Rhode Island over the past 5 years (n = 50). In addition, qualitative interviews with incarcerated people, RI DOC medical staff, prison administrators, and food service personnel will elicit information about the feasibility of a weight control/reduction program in this facility. This project's multi-disciplinary team includes CIRA investigators with HIV and prison expertise and a Brown physician with over a decade of experience treating HIV and obesity in prison. Findings from this research will support an NIMH or NHLBI R34 application to implement and evaluate a nutrition/weight management program for prisoners living with HIV.