Lifetime prevalence of major depression is estimated at 28% by age 18 (Lewinsohn et al., 1999), with higher cumulative rates in females (35%) than males (19%). Approximately 17% of children and adolescents in the United States are obese as defined by a BMI above the 95th percentile, with more than 30% falling between the 85th and 95th percentiles (Ogden et al., 2008). Overweight children and adolescents are at increased risk for type 2 diabetes (Pinhas-Hamiel et al., 1996) and overwhelming risk for adult obesity (Guo et al., 1994). There is a substantial percentage of adolescents who are both overweight and depressed with estimates from clinical samples averaging 25%. Treatment of teens with comorbid medical and psychiatric conditions such as overweight/obesity and depression has received little to no attention in the psychosocial treatment research literature. Due to the large number of adolescents who are both depressed and overweight, developing a behavioral treatment that addresses both problems simultaneously has important public health significance. The purpose of this proposal is to combine treatments for depression and overweight to address these co-occurring conditions in one intervention. The long-term objectives of this research are to develop efficient and effective treatments for co-occurring physical and emotional disorders. The research program will be divided into 3 major phases: a development phase (Stage 1a), a pilot study phase (Stage 1b), and a revision phase. During the development phase (Stage 1a), a treatment for overweight teens and CBT treatment for depressed teens will be adapted into one integrated protocol that addresses depression using CBT techniques, an exercise component, and advice regarding healthy eating. As part of this phase, we will adapt existing intervention manuals and therapist training materials, and gain some initial clinical experience with the intervention via an open trial with 6 teens. During the randomized pilot study phase (Stage 1b), the integrated intervention will be compared to a control group receiving CBT treatment for depression alone (N=40 in total). During the pilot phase, the feasibility and acceptability of administering the program will be assessed. In addition, we will compare change in depressed mood at end of treatment and 6 month follow-up periods across the two groups. During the revision phase, the intervention manual will be further developed and refined, based on experiences and observations made during the development and pilot study phases.
The cumulative prevalence of major depression in adolescence is estimated at almost 30%. Similarly, approximately 17% of children and adolescents are obese and another 30% at risk for overweight. This study addresses the co-occurrence of these two major public health issues in adolescence by developing an intervention that addresses both problems in an integrated protocol. The intervention protocol will integrate cognitive-behavioral treatment for depression with exercise plus education about healthy eating to achieve its goals.