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Therapy Helps Teens Control Weight

Therapy Helps Teens Control WeightA new psychotherapy treatment has been developed to prevent excessive weight gain in teenager girls deemed ‘at risk’ for obesity.

Scientists at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences and the National Institutes of Health found that girls who participated in the program may be better able to prevent their BMI from increasing over the course of a year compared to girls who took traditional health education classes.

The regimen is called Interpersonal Psychotherapy, a program that targets youth considered at high risk of obesity because they were already above average weight and because they reported episodes of loss of control eating or binge eating.

Both higher weight and loss of control eating are linked to excessive weight gain in children and young people.

The study, published in the International Journal of Eating Disorders was led by Dr. Marian Tanofsky-Kraff.

Interpersonal Psychotherapy (IPT) focuses on improving interpersonal relationships by targeting the underlying social and interpersonal difficulties that influence individuals to engage in loss of control eating.

The therapy has been shown to help both depressed adults and youth and also to help tackle binge eating in adults. In adult studies, decreases in binge eating may lead to modest weight loss and less regain over time compared with those who continue to binge eat.

Thus, decreasing binge eating is an attractive target for preventing obesity in at-risk youth.

“We conducted this study to address the dramatically increased rates of obesity in children and adolescents,” said Tanofsky-Kraff. “‘IPT for Binge Eating Disorder is based on the assumption that binge eating occurs in response to poor social functioning and the consequent negative moods.”

Thirty-eight girls, some with and others without loss of control eating, were selected for the trial, and were randomly designated to attend either IPT sessions or standard health education classes currently taught to teenagers. All the girls completed their courses and received followup visits for the next year.

Girls who undertook IPT were more likely to stabilize or reduce their BMI than those who received the health education classes. BMI is a measure of body weight corrected for height, and is used to determine appropriate weight gain in growing children and teens.

“This pilot study has demonstrated that IPT is both feasible and acceptable to adolescent girls at risk of adult obesity and suggests that it may prevent excess weight gain,” concludes Tanofsky-Kraff.

“If IPT proves to be effective, we may be able to prevent not only excessive weight gain, but the development of related adverse health conditions in a subset of susceptible youth.”

Source: Wiley-Blackwell

Therapy Helps Teens Control Weight

Rick Nauert PhD

Rick Nauert, PhDDr. Rick Nauert has over 25 years experience in clinical, administrative and academic healthcare. He is currently an associate professor for Rocky Mountain University of Health Professionals doctoral program in health promotion and wellness. Dr. Nauert began his career as a clinical physical therapist and served as a regional manager for a publicly traded multidisciplinary rehabilitation agency for 12 years. He has masters degrees in health-fitness management and healthcare administration and a doctoral degree from The University of Texas at Austin focused on health care informatics, health administration, health education and health policy. His research efforts included the area of telehealth with a specialty in disease management.

APA Reference
Nauert PhD, R. (2015). Therapy Helps Teens Control Weight. Psych Central. Retrieved on November 17, 2018, from https://psychcentral.com/news/2009/12/16/therapy-helps-teens-control-weight/10213.html

 

Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 6 Oct 2015
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 6 Oct 2015
Published on PsychCentral.com. All rights reserved.