Motivational interviewing as a component of a school-based obesity prevention program for adolescent girls

J Am Diet Assoc. 2009 Jan;109(1):91-4. doi: 10.1016/j.jada.2008.10.003.


Over the past decade, motivational interviewing has been used by health professionals to promote health behavior changes and help individuals increase their motivation or "readiness" to change. This paper describes a preliminary study that evaluated the feasibility of motivational interviewing as a component of New Moves, a school-based obesity prevention program. New Moves is a program for inactive adolescent high school girls who are overweight or at risk of becoming overweight due to low levels of physical activity. Throughout the 18-week pilot study, 41 girls, age 16 to 18 years, participated in an all-girls physical education class that focused on increasing physical activity, healthful eating, and social support. Individual sessions, using motivational interviewing techniques, were also conducted with 20 of the girls to develop goals and actions related to eating and physical activity. Among the 20 girls, 81% completed all seven of the individual sessions, and girls set a goal 100% of the time. Motivational interviewing offers a promising component of school-based obesity-prevention programs and was found to be feasible to implement in school settings and acceptable to the adolescents.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adolescent Nutritional Physiological Phenomena / physiology*
  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy / methods
  • Counseling / methods
  • Exercise / physiology*
  • Exercise / psychology*
  • Female
  • Health Behavior
  • Health Promotion
  • Humans
  • Interviews as Topic
  • Motivation*
  • Obesity / prevention & control*
  • Obesity / psychology*
  • Outcome and Process Assessment, Health Care*
  • Pilot Projects
  • Social Support