An Adolescent Weight-Loss Program Integrating Family Variables Reduces Energy Intake

Heather Kitzman-Ulrich, Robert Hampson, Dawn K. Wilson, Katherine Presnell, Alan Brown, Mary O'Boyle

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Scopus citations


Family variables such as cohesion and nurturance have been associated with adolescent weight-related health behaviors. Integrating family variables that improve family functioning into traditional weight-loss programs can provide health-related benefits. The current study evaluated a family-based psychoeducational and behavioral skill-building weight-loss program for adolescent girls that integrated Family Systems and Social Cognitive Theories. Forty-two overweight (≥95th percentile) female adolescent participants and parents participated in a 16-week randomized controlled trial comparing three groups: multifamily therapy plus psychoeducation (n=15), psychoeducation-only (n=16), or wait list (control; n=11) group. Body mass index, energy intake, and family measures were assessed at baseline and posttreatment. Adolescents in the psychoeducation-only group demonstrated a greater decrease in energy intake compared to the multifamily therapy plus psychoeducation and control groups (P<0.01). Positive changes in family nurturance were associated with lower levels of adolescent energy intake (P<0.05). No significant effects were found for body mass index. Results provide preliminary support for a psychoeducational program that integrates family variables to reduce energy intake in overweight adolescent girls. Results indicate that nurturance can be an important family variable to target in future adolescent weight-loss and dietary programs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)491-496
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of the American Dietetic Association
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2009
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Food Science
  • Nutrition and Dietetics


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