Recruiting young adults into a weight loss trial: report of protocol development and recruitment results

Contemp Clin Trials. 2013 Jul;35(2):1-7. doi: 10.1016/j.cct.2013.04.002. Epub 2013 Apr 13.


Obesity has spread to all segments of the U.S. population. Young adults, aged 18-35 years, are rarely represented in clinical weight loss trials. We conducted a qualitative study to identify factors that may facilitate recruitment of young adults into a weight loss intervention trial. Participants were 33 adults aged 18-35 years with BMI ≥25 kg/m(2). Six group discussions were conducted using the nominal group technique. Health, social image, and "self" factors such as emotions, self-esteem, and confidence were reported as reasons to pursue weight loss. Physical activity, dietary intake, social support, medical intervention, and taking control (e.g. being motivated) were perceived as the best weight loss strategies. Incentives, positive outcomes, education, convenience, and social support were endorsed as reasons young adults would consider participating in a weight loss study. Incentives, advertisement, emphasizing benefits, and convenience were endorsed as ways to recruit young adults. These results informed the Cellphone Intervention for You (CITY) marketing and advertising, including message framing and advertising avenues. Implications for recruitment methods are discussed.

Keywords: Adults; Methods; Obesity; Recruitment; Trial; Young.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Female
  • Health Behavior
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Motivation*
  • Obesity / therapy*
  • Overweight / therapy
  • Patient Selection*
  • Qualitative Research
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic / methods
  • Research Design
  • Self Concept*
  • Social Support*
  • Young Adult