Efficacy Trial of a Selective Prevention Program Targeting Both Eating Disorders and Obesity Among Female College Students: 1- and 2-Year Follow-Up Effects

Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology (Impact Factor: 4.85). 12/2012; 81(1). DOI: 10.1037/a0031235
Source: PubMed


Evaluate the effects of a prevention program targeting both eating disorders and obesity at 1- and 2-year follow-ups.

Female college students at risk for these outcomes because of body image concerns (N = 398) were randomized to the Healthy Weight 2 group-based 4-hr prevention program, which promotes lasting healthy improvements to dietary intake and physical activity and nutrition science health behavior change principles, or an educational brochure control condition.

Intervention participants showed significantly less body dissatisfaction and eating disorder symptoms and lower eating disorder onset through 2-year follow-up versus controls, but the former 2 effects were small. There were no main effects for body mass index (BMI), depressive symptoms, dieting, caloric intake, physical activity, or obesity onset. Moderator analyses revealed stronger eating disorder symptom effects for youths with initially elevated symptoms and lower pressure to be thin, stronger BMI effects for youths with initially elevated symptoms and BMI scores, and weaker eating disorder symptom effects for youths with initially elevated pressure to be thin.

The 60% reduction in eating disorder onset over the 2-year follow-up was clinically significant and a novel effect for a prevention program, but the main effects on continuous outcomes were small, suggesting that adding nutrition science principles weakened the intervention efficacy. Effects on both eating disorder symptoms and BMI were greater for those with elevated eating disorder symptoms and BMI at pretest, implying that it might be useful to target these individuals in future trials.

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Available from: Paul Rohde, Dec 29, 2014
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    • "The authors also found that reductions in body dissatisfaction were greater for young adults and older adolescents than for younger adolescents. These findings are compatible with the conclusions of the meta-analytic reviews reported previously[48],[49] and with many studies that report greater treatment effects in those with elevated symptoms at baseline.[52],[55],[56] Furthermore, programs that produce a higher level of cognitive dissonance (i.e., those that require increased effort to complete tasks, that expect public reporting of dissonant opinions, etc.) tend to produce greater reductions in eating disorder symptoms from pre-to-post-test than programs that have less intensive methods of generating cognitive dissonance,[57],[58] but these differences did not persist at the 3-month follow-up.[58] "
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