Young adults 18-25 years of age are at particularly high risk for weight gain and obesity, but are dramatically underrepresented in standard behavioral weight loss (BWL) programs. There have been calls to develop programs specifically targeting this group, but little data exist to inform treatment development efforts. The primary aim of this application is to develop and test a brief, individual-level, Motivational Interviewing based approach to weight loss in this age group;the proposed intervention is routed in theory, extant data, and considerable formative work with the population of interest. Participants will be 40 young adults, 18-25 years old with a BMI of 25-40 kg/m2 who will be randomized to 1 of 2 arms: MI-based Brief Behavioral Weight Loss (MIBWL) or Brief Behavioral Weight Loss (BBWL). Both arms will receive a 12-week program, including 2 individual in-person sessions, followed by weekly BWL modules, reporting of key behaviors, and feedback on progress relative to goals, all via email. During the initial 2 weeks, participants in the MIBWL arm will receive 2 MI-based sessions, including personalized feedback on their behavior and physical measures relative to healthy standards - this feedback will be used to guide the sessions and enhance autonomous motivation. Although interventionists will present core BWL information, participants will be provided with options for diet, physical activity and self-monitoring and will self-select behavioral goals in each of these areas. In contrast, the BBWL arm will receive 2 in-person sessions in which they will receive core BWL information, a summary of their assessment measures, and standard BWL prescriptions for diet, activity and self-monitoring. Assessments will take place at 0, 3, and 6 months, followed by exit interviews to help refine the protocol as needed.
Obesity has reached pandemic proportions in the United States, and young adults between 18 and 25 are at particularly high risk;yet, standard behavioral weight loss programs are not meeting this needs of this age group. The proposed research seeks to develop and test a novel approach to weight loss in young adults;effective treatment could have a profound public health impact by decreasing the costs associated with obesity as this generation ages.