A primary care-based, multicomponent lifestyle intervention for overweight adolescent females

Lynn L. DeBar, Victor J. Stevens, Nancy Perrin, Philip Wu, John Pearson, Bobbi Jo Yarborough, John Dickerson, Frances Lynch

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

71 Scopus citations


BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVE: Most clinic-based weight control treatments for youth have been designed for preadolescent children by using family-based care. However, as adolescents become more autonomous and less motivated by parental influence, this strategy may be less appropriate. This study evaluated a primary care-based, multicomponent lifestyle intervention specifically tailored for overweight adolescent females. METHODS: Adolescent girls (N = 208) 12 to 17 years of age (mean ± SD: 14.1 ± 1.4 years), with a mean ± SD BMI percentile of 97.09 ±2.27, were assigned randomly to the intervention or usual care control group. The gender and developmentally tailored intervention included a focus on adoptable healthy lifestyle behaviors and was reinforced by ongoing feedback from the teen's primary care physician. Of those randomized, 195 (94%) completed the 6-month posttreatment assessment, and 173 (83%) completed the 12-month follow-up. The primary outcome was reduction in BMI z score. RESULTS: The decrease in BMI z score over time was significantly greater for intervention participants compared with usual care participants (-0.15 in BMI z score among intervention participants compared with -0.08 among usual care participants; P = .012). The 2 groups did not differ in secondary metabolic or psychosocial outcomes. Compared with usual care, intervention participants reported less reduction in frequency of family meals and less fast-food intake. CONCLUSIONS: A 5-month, medium-intensity, primary care-based, multicomponent behavioral intervention was associated with significant and sustained decreases in BMI z scores among obese adolescent girls compared with those receiving usual care.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)e611-e620
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • Adolescent obesity
  • Behavioral intervention
  • Primary care
  • Randomized controlled trial
  • Weight management

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health


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