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Cognitive behavioral therapy improves diet and body composition in overweight and obese adolescents.

20 Jun

Overweight Adolescents Lose Weight, Body Fat, Waist Circumference

A ten week Cognitive Behavioral Therapy program in Australia delivers significant improvements in 47 overweight Australian teenagers.

Research from the University of South Australia in Adelaide examined the effectiveness of a Cognitive Behavioral Training (CBT) program (called CHOOSE HEALTH) for improving body composition, diet, and physical activity in overweight and obese adolescents.

Sixteen male and thirty-one female adolescents with an average age of 14.5 were block-matched into 2 groups by age, sex, Tanner stage, Body Mass Index, and hip and waist circumferences, and were then randomly assigned to either the CBT condition or a "no treatment" control group. The CBT treatment consisted of 10 weekly sessions, followed by 5 fortnightly telephone sessions.

Compared with the controls, over twenty weeks, the CBT group improved significantly: BMI (P = 0.007), weight (P = 0.001), body fat (P = 0.001), and abdominal fat (P = 0.008). CBT showed a greater reduction in intake of sugared soft drinks as a percentage of total energy (P = 0.005), which was related to reductions in weight (P = 0.02), and waist circumference (P = 0.02). Physical activity did not change significantly.

The study concludes that a 10-wk CBT program, followed by 10 weeks of fortnightly phone contact, improved body composition in overweight and obese adolescents. Changes in soft drink consumption may have contributed to this effect.

Citation:Tsiros MD, Sinn N, Brennan L, Coates AM, Walkley JW, Petkov J, Howe PR, Buckley JD. Cognitive behavioral therapy improves diet and body composition in overweight and obese adolescents. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 2008 May; 87 (5): pages 1134-40.
Belleruth Naparstek

Psychotherapist, author and guided imagery pioneer Belleruth Naparstek is the creator of the popular Health Journeys guided imagery audio series. Her latest book on imagery and posttraumatic stress, Invisible Heroes: Survivors of Trauma and How They Heal (Bantam Dell), won the Spirituality & Health Top 50 Books Award