Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access Thesis

Degree Name

Medical Doctor (MD)

First Advisor

David L. Katz MD


This pilot study assessed the feasibility, acceptability and efficacy of a novel approach to facilitating dietary change and weight loss in obese adults by presenting vegan environmental, health and farm animal treatment information in a 6 week, group-based, educational nutrition program (called a vegan healthy eating program). Twenty-nine (29) medically stable, obese adults were recruited from 3 ambulatory care clinics at UCSF and enrolled using partial randomization into one of two serially occurring intervention groups (Group 1 n=14, followed by Group 2 n=15). A delayed intervention control group (n=9) was used, consisting of participants enrolled in Group 2 who were available for collection of baseline measures prior to the start of Group 1s intervention. All intervention participants provided data immediately following their vegan healthy eating program (2 months post baseline) and again at 3 and 9 months post baseline. 10% of initial contacts (29 patients) met inclusion and exclusion criteria and were enrolled; 25 participants were retained at 3 months, 20 at 9 months. Mean intervention session satisfaction as measured by anonymous surveys using a 1-7 Likert scale (1=extremely unsatisfied, 7=extremely satisfied) was 6.2 (SD=1.1). Statistically significant reductions in calories from animal products, percent fat, cholesterol and increases in the recommended food score, fruits and vegetable servings were observed within the intervention group only, at all timepoints. Mean weight change was +2.8 lbs (3.0, n=8, p=0.035) in control participants after 4.3 weeks, and -3.4 lbs (5.0, n=25, p=0.002), -5.9 lbs (7.7, n=25, p=0.001), and -8.8 lbs (14.2, n=20, p=0.012) after 7.3, 15.6 and 41.7 weeks in intervention participants, respectively. In conclusion, this vegan healthy eating program demonstrated good feasibility, high satisfaction, and facilitated a shift towards a plant-based diet and modest, progressive short-term weight loss among intervention participants.