Feasibility/acceptability of an acceptance-based therapy intervention for diverse adolescent girls with overweight/obesity

Obes Sci Pract. 2021 Mar 1;7(3):291-301. doi: 10.1002/osp4.483. eCollection 2021 Jun.


Background: Behavioral obesity interventions using an acceptance-based therapy (ABT) approach have demonstrated efficacy for adults, yet feasibility and acceptability of tailoring an ABT intervention for adolescents remains unknown.

Objective: This study assessed the feasibility and acceptability of an ABT healthy lifestyle intervention among diverse adolescent cisgender girls with overweight/obesity (OW/OB).

Methods: Adolescent cisgender girls aged 14-19 with a BMI of ≥85th percentile-for-sex-and-age were recruited for participation in a single-arm feasibility study. The primary outcomes were recruitment and retention while the secondary outcome was change in BMI Z-score over the 6-month intervention. Exploratory outcomes included obesity-related factors, health-related behaviors, and psychological factors.

Results: Recruitment goals were achieved; 13 adolescents (>60% racial/ethnic minorities) participated in the intervention, and 11 completed the intervention (85% retention). In completers (n = 11), a mean decrease in BMI Z-score of -0.15 (SD = 0.34, Cohen's d = -0.44) was observed. Improvements were also noted for change in percentage of 95th percentile (d = -0.35), percent body fat (d = -0.35), quality of life (d = 0.71), psychological flexibility (d = -0.86), and depression (d = -0.86).

Conclusions: These preliminary findings suggest an ABT healthy lifestyle intervention tailored for adolescent cisgender girls with OW/OB may be an acceptable treatment that could lead to improvements in BMI Z-score, obesity-related measures, and psychological outcomes.

Keywords: adolescents; feasibility; intervention; obesity.