Excess weight gain prevention in adolescents: Three-year outcome following a randomized controlled trial

Marian Tanofsky-Kraff*, Lauren B. Shomaker, Denise E. Wilfley, Jami F. Young, Tracy Sbrocco, Mark Stephens, Sheila M. Brady, Ovidiu Galescu, Andrew Demidowich, Cara H. Olsen, Merel Kozlosky, James C. Reynolds, Jack A. Yanovski

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

37 Scopus citations


Objective: Interpersonal psychotherapy (IPT) prevents weight gain in adults with obesity and binge-eating-disorder, and is especially effective among those with increased psychosocial problems. However, IPT was not superior to health education (HE) to prevent excess weight gain at 1-year follow-up in 113 adolescent girls at high-risk for excess weight gain because of loss-of-control eating and high body mass index (BMI; kg/m2; Tanofsky-Kraff et al., 2014). Method: Participants from the original trial were recontacted 3 years later for assessment. At baseline, adolescent- and parent-reported social-adjustment problems and trait anxiety were evaluated. At baseline and follow-ups, BMIz and adiposity by dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry were obtained. Results: Nearly 60% were reassessed at 3 years, with no group differences in participation (ps ≥.70). Consistent with 1 year, there was no main effect of group on change in BMIz/adiposity (ps ≥.18). In exploratory analyses, baseline social-adjustment problems and trait-anxiety moderated outcome (ps <.01). Among girls with high self-reported baseline social-adjustment problems or anxiety, IPT, compared to HE, was associated with the steepest declines in BMIz (p <.001). For adiposity, girls with high or low anxiety in HE and girls with low anxiety in IPT experienced gains (ps ≤.03), while girls in IPT with high anxiety stabilized. Parent-reports yielded complementary findings. Conclusion: In obesity-prone adolescent girls, IPT was not superior to HE in preventing excess weight gain at 3 years. Consistent with theory, exploratory analyses suggested that IPT was associated with improvements in BMIz over 3 years among youth with high social-adjustment problems or trait anxiety. Future studies should test the efficacy of IPT for obesity prevention among at-risk girls with social-adjustment problems and/or anxiety.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)218-227
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1 Mar 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • BMIz
  • adiposity
  • anxiety
  • preventive adolescent IPT
  • social-adjustment problems


Dive into the research topics of 'Excess weight gain prevention in adolescents: Three-year outcome following a randomized controlled trial'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this