The goal of this Mentored Patient-Oriented Research Career Award (K23) is to allow Dr. Gokee-LaRose to become an independent investigator focused on developing interventions to target modifiable CVD risk factors during the transition into young adulthood. This training plan, through didactic and direct mentored training experiences, will allow her to develop skills and expertise in: 1) design and conduct of randomized clinical trials (with an emphasis on obesity);2) qualitative research methods, which will enable her to effectively tailor programs for young adults;3) increased knowledge of CVD risk factors with relevance to young adults and methodology used to assess novel markers in RCTs;and 4) research ethics and the advanced statistical skills needed to analyze data resulting from RCTs. The resources at the Miriam Hospital/ Brown Medical School and close contact with her expert mentor team (Drs. Wing, Jelalian, Morrow, Lewis and Fava) will provide her with the ideal environment to achieve her training and research goals. Young adults between 18 and 25 are at particularly high risk for weight gain and obesity;yet, they are under-represented in standard programs and little is known about how best to recruit and/or retain this group in treatment. Our pilot data indicates significant weight losses can be achieved through a brief, clinic-based program with young adults, and maintained in the short-term. The goal of this proposal is twofold: 1) to conduct formative work aimed at improving recruitment and retention efforts with this age group, and 2) to conduct a randomized clinical trial to test the feasibility and preliminary efficacy of three different approaches to longer-term weight control. In Phase 1, 80 overweight or obese men and women ages 18-25 will participate in focus groups to address recruitment, retention and barriers to treatment. In Phase 2, a new sample of 90 participants will be enrolled in a brief, 10-week BWL program and then randomized to one of three maintenance arms through 12 months. Contact schedule and delivery format will be determined in part by Phase 1;the three arms will be continued face-to-face, a newsletter control, or an alternative form of continued contact. Assessments will take place at baseline, 10 weeks, 6 and 12 months.

Public Health Relevance

Obesity has reached pandemic proportions in the United States, and young adults between 18 and 25 are at particularly high risk;yet to date, standard behavioral weight loss programs have not been successful at reaching this high-risk group. It remains unclear how best to recruit these individuals for treatment initially, or how to retain them in treatment in the longer-term. The proposed research fills this gap, and therefore stands to have substantial clinical and public health implications.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK)
Mentored Patient-Oriented Research Career Development Award (K23)
Project #
Application #
Study Section
Diabetes, Endocrinology and Metabolic Diseases B Subcommittee (DDK)
Program Officer
Podskalny, Judith M,
Project Start
Project End
Budget Start
Budget End
Support Year
Fiscal Year
Total Cost
Indirect Cost
Virginia Commonwealth University
Other Health Professions
Schools of Medicine
United States
Zip Code
LaRose, Jessica Gokee; Fava, Joseph L; Steeves, Elizabeth A et al. (2014) Daily self-weighing within a lifestyle intervention: impact on disordered eating symptoms. Health Psychol 33:297-300
LaRose, Jessica Gokee; Leahey, Tricia M; Hill, James O et al. (2013) Differences in motivations and weight loss behaviors in young adults and older adults in the National Weight Control Registry. Obesity (Silver Spring) 21:449-53
Leahey, Tricia M; Thomas, John G; LaRose, Jessica Gokee et al. (2012) A randomized trial testing a contingency-based weight loss intervention involving social reinforcement. Obesity (Silver Spring) 20:324-9
Tantleff-Dunn, Stacey; Barnes, Rachel D; Larose, Jessica Gokee (2011) It's not just a "woman thing:" the current state of normative discontent. Eat Disord 19:392-402
Leahey, Tricia M; Gokee LaRose, Jessica; Fava, Joseph L et al. (2011) Social influences are associated with BMI and weight loss intentions in young adults. Obesity (Silver Spring) 19:1157-62
Gokee LaRose, Jessica; Gorin, Amy A; Clarke, Megan M et al. (2011) Beliefs about weight gain among young adults: potential challenges to prevention. Obesity (Silver Spring) 19:1901-4
Gokee LaRose, Jessica; Tate, Deborah F; Gorin, Amy A et al. (2010) Preventing weight gain in young adults: a randomized controlled pilot study. Am J Prev Med 39:63-8
Gokee-LaRose, J; Gorin, A A; Raynor, H A et al. (2009) Are standard behavioral weight loss programs effective for young adults? Int J Obes (Lond) 33:1374-80