The Healthy Weight
Management Intervention is a three-session group intervention designed to
encourage girls to use healthy weight-management strategies and to reduce the
prevalence of bulimic symptoms. An experimental evaluation of the program found
it to have positive impacts on BMI, exercise intensity, healthy eating, bulimic
symptoms, and negative affect.
Target population: Adolescent girls
The Healthy Weight
Management Intervention is a group intervention designed to encourage girls to
use healthy weight-management strategies. The intervention comprises three
hour-long sessions with 6 to 10 participants. Sessions are facilitated by a
doctoral-level clinical psychologist or a doctoral student and a bachelor’s
level research assistant.
The first session
introduces participants to the program and explains that body-image concerns
often arise because people do not have a full grasp of healthy weight-control
skills. The participants are told the program will help them make small
lifestyle changes, and are not encouraged to count calories or reduce caloric
intake. This session introduces the concept of a healthy ideal as preferable to
a thin ideal and uses motivational interviewing to explore the advantages of the
healthy ideal. Participants learn how to develop a balanced diet and are
encouraged to adjust their eating and exercise habits to meet the healthy ideal.
For homework, participants complete a three-day food and exercise diary to bring
to the next session.
The second session
begins by asking participants to brainstorm the benefits of maintaining a
healthy ideal and reminding them not to go for long periods of time without
eating. Next, participants review their eating and exercise diaries and discuss
the benefits of regular activity. For homework, participants are asked to list
ten personally meaningful reasons to pursue a healthy ideal and they continue to
complete food and exercise diaries.
The final session
allows participants to discuss problems they have encountered while trying to
improve dietary intake throughout the intervention and to generate ways to
overcome these barriers. Participants are also asked to discuss why they signed
up for the intervention and what they hoped to accomplish. For homework,
participants are asked to email the facilitators their continued progress after
EVALUATION(S) OF PROGRAM
Stice, E., Presnell, K., Groesz,
L., and Shaw, H. (2005). Effects of a weight enhancement diet on bulimic
symptoms: An experimental test of the diet restraint theory.Health
Psychology, 24(4), 402-412.
Evaluated population: 188
adolescent girls were evaluated. The mean age of the sample was 16.7.
Participants were 57 percent Caucasian, 23 percent Hispanic, 8 percent African
American, 6 percent Asian/Pacific Islander, 1 percent Native American, and 5
percent other or mixed race heritage. Twenty-two percent of participants’
mothers and 26 percent of participants’ fathers had advanced educational
Approach: Females between the
ages of 14 and 19 with body-image concerns were recruited from high schools and
a university and invited to participate in the study. Once enrolled,
participants were randomly assigned to the intervention group or control group.
Assessments were completed before the program began, immediately following the
final session, and at 6- and 12- month follow-ups. Body Mass Index (BMI),
healthy eating, exercise intensity, bulimic symptoms, negative affect, and
self-reported dieting were measured at each time point.
Results: Over the follow-up
period, girls who participated in the intervention had smaller increases in BMI
and greater increases in exercise intensity and healthy eating than did girls in
the control group. Intervention participants also had greater reductions in
bulimic symptoms and negative affect than did control group girls. There was no
impact on self-reported dieting.
SOURCES FOR MORE INFORMATION
1715 Franklin Blvd.
Eugene, OR 97403
Presnell, K., Groesz, L., and Shaw, H. (2005). Effects of a weight enhancement
diet on bulimic symptoms: An experimental test of the diet restraint theory.Health Psychology, 24(4), 402-412.
KEYWORDS: Adolescents (12-17),
Youth (16+), Young Adults (18-24), High School, College, Female Only,
White/Caucasian, Other Mental Health, Health Status/Conditions, Nutrition,
Obesity, Other Physical Health
information last updated 9/16/2011.