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Medifast Initiates Ground-Breaking Adolescent Weight Loss Study With Johns Hopkins to Test the Efficacy of Portion-Controlled Meal Replacements and a Joint Parent-Child Diet Plan Approach

Medifast, Inc. announced today the company has initiated a clinical study with Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore, Maryland to test the efficacy of Medifast meal replacements versus a standard reference diet on weight loss and weight maintenance in a joint parent-child plan approach. The 18-month study will consist of 80 overweight or obese boys and girls between the ages of 8 and 15 and 40 of their parents. The principal investigator and Johns Hopkins study examiner, Dr. Lawrence Cheskin, is interested in whether a joint parent-child approach using Medifast engineered foods will result in greater weight loss than children dieting alone.

"A systematic review of randomized controlled trials indicates that positive parental involvement is associated with weight loss in children, especially when a wide range of behavior changing techniques are employed," says Cheskin. "Although there have been other adolescent obesity studies, we found none that investigated the use of meal replacements in obese children and adolescents where weight loss was the primary outcome measure."

To date, there have been no randomized controlled trials that have demonstrated the benefit of portion-controlled meal replacements as adjuncts to diet in improving weight loss outcomes in children and adolescents. Additionally, no literature exists examining the effect of a joint weight loss program with both a parent and child dieting together.

"Physicians have been trained for decades not to restrict calories in children for fear of interfering with growth and development... this doctrine is hampering the efforts to enlist doctors in the fight against the growing obesity epidemic facing our youth," says Dr. Wayne Andersen, Medifast Medical Director. "I believe the calorie restriction dogma is not only outdated but hindering our efforts to correct the problem. This study can validate our observations that meal replacements and parental support can provide a valuable alternative to help our youth improve their health."

The Fit! line, which now includes three great tasting shakes, chocolate pudding, three delicious bars, oatmeal and soup, will be used in conjunction with prescribed individual diet plans.

The prevalence of overweight and obesity among children and adolescents has increased over 50% in the past 20 years and now affects more than one in four young people. When a person is obese as a child, there is increased likelihood of being obese as an adult and obesity in adulthood is associated with significant morbidity and increased likelihood of early mortality.

Obesity in children and adolescents can cause psychological problems such as depression, as well as medical problems including risk of glucose intolerance, type II diabetes mellitus, hyperinsulinemia, hypercholesterolmia, hypertension, asthma, joint difficulties, nonalcoholic steatohepatitis and menstrual irregularities.

"By targeting overweight and obesity during childhood and adolescence, we can help prevent or reduce the physical and psychological cost of this epidemic," says Cheskin. "We look forward to this opportunity to work with Medifast to scientifically test this new approach to promoting weight loss, weight maintenance and wellness for children and adolescents."

This release contains forward-looking statements, which may involve known, and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors that may cause Medifast's actual results and performance in future periods to be materially different from any future results or performance suggested by these statements. Medifast cautions investors not to place undue reliance on forward-looking statements, which speak only to management's expectation on this date.

SOURCE: Medifast, Inc.

CONTACT: Jeremy Hunt, Investor Relations Specialist, +1-410-504-8196, or
Casey Seward, Public Relations Manager, +1-410-504-8154, both of Medifast; or
Ken Sgro, CEOcast, Inc. for Medifast, +1-212-732-4300