Behavioral self-regulation for weight loss in young adults: a randomized controlled trial

Int J Behav Nutr Phys Act. 2009 Feb 16;6:10. doi: 10.1186/1479-5868-6-10.


Objective: To determine the feasibility of recruiting and retaining young adults in a brief behavioral weight loss intervention tailored for this age group, and to assess the preliminary efficacy of an intervention that emphasizes daily self-weighing within the context of a self-regulation model.

Methods: Forty young adults (29.1 +/- 3.9 years, range 21-35, average BMI of 33.36 +/- 3.4) were randomized to one of two brief behavioral weight loss interventions: behavioral self-regulation (BSR) or adapted standard behavioral treatment (SBT). Assessments were conducted at baseline, post-treatment (10 weeks), and follow-up (20 weeks). Intent to treat analyses were conducted using general linear modeling in SPSS version 14.0.

Results: Participants in both groups attended an average of 8.7 out of 10 group meetings, and retention rates were 93% and 88% for post-treatment and follow-up assessments, respectively. Both groups achieved significant weight losses at post-treatment (BSR = -6.4 kg (4.0); SBT = -6.2 kg (4.5) and follow-up (BSR = -6.6 kg (5.5); SBT = -5.8 kg (5.2), p < .001; but the interaction of group x time was not statistically significant, p = .84. Across groups, there was a positive association between frequency of weighing at follow-up and overall weight change at follow-up (p = .01). Daily weighing was not associated with any adverse changes in psychological symptoms.

Conclusion: Young adults can be recruited and retained in a behavioral weight loss program tailored to their needs, and significant weight losses can be achieved and maintained through this brief intervention. Future research on the longer-term efficacy of a self-regulation approach using daily self-weighing for weight loss in this age group is warranted.

Clinical trials registration: # NCT00488228.

Associated data