Does an Effective Theoretically Based Weight Loss Treatment for Middle-Aged Women Work for Young Women?

Academic Article


  • Background: Young adults gain weight faster and suffer from chronic diseases at a younger age than their older counterparts. Existing behavioral obesity treatments included few young adults, and their effects on young adults remain unknown. Purpose: The purpose of this study was to explore whether a behavioral treatment that was effective in weight loss for mostly middle-aged women would be effective for young women. Methods: One hundred eleven female undergraduates with obesity recruited from a large public university in the Southeastern United States in 2014–2016 received treatment, including 6 individual exercise support sessions over 6 months and 20 biweekly group nutrition sessions. Measurements include weight, waist circumference, physical activity, diet, mood, and exercise- and eating-related self-regulation and self-efficacy at baseline and at months 3 and 6. Results: Attrition was 65.8% at month 3 and 87.4% at month 6. Paired t tests show significant reductions in weight and significant improvements in weight loss–related behaviors and psychological variables at month 3. More average weight was lost at month 6. Discussion: Despite high attrition, the treatment demonstrated some positive effects for the young college women who continued attending sessions. Translation to Health Education Practice: Health Educators should explore reasons for attrition among college students with obesity and develop treatment components to help them lose excess weight.
  • Authors

    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Johnson PH; Annesi JJ
  • Start Page

  • 382
  • End Page

  • 391
  • Volume

  • 48
  • Issue

  • 6