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Evaluating a small change approach to preventing long term weight gain in overweight and obese adults--Study rationale, design, and methods.

Robert Ross, James Hill, Amy Latimer, Andrew Day

Contemporary clinical trials [47:275-81] (2016)

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Despite the rapid rise in obesity worldwide, few strategies have been effective in treating this epidemic. An emerging strategy is to focus on preventing excessive weight gain rather than weight reduction. The proposed intervention, small change approach (SCA), is an innovative weight gain prevention strategy in which individuals monitor their usual nutrition and physical activity patterns and then make modest but sustainable alterations through behavioral intervention techniques (self-regulation, goal setting) enough to reduce overall energy balance by 100 to 200 kcal per day (e.g., reduce caloric intake by 100 kcal per day and/or increase daily step count by ~2000 steps (~100 kcal) per day). The primary aim of the trial is to determine whether small changes in energy expenditure and/or energy intake prevent weight gain in overweight and obese men and women long-term. The pre-specified primary and secondary assessments are at 2 and 3 years post-randomization respectively. The primary outcome is change in body weight. Secondary outcomes include body composition variables (adipose tissue distribution and lean mass distribution) and cardiorespiratory fitness (VO2peak). We randomized 320 primarily White (n=305) overweight and obese men and women to one of 2 conditions: 1) usual care (UC), 2) small change approach (SCA). Participant involvement in the study is 3 years; 2 year intervention with a 1 year follow-up. Our study findings will indicate whether there is value in clinicians adopting a SCA to lifestyle counseling for their patients who are overweight and obese.


Motivational interviewing as a way to promote physical activity in obese adolescents: a randomised-controlled trial using self-determination theory as an explanatory framework.

Mathieu Gourlan, Philippe Sarrazin, David Trouilloud

Psychology & health [28:1265-86] (2013)

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Using self-determination theory (SDT) as an explanatory framework, this randomised-controlled study evaluates the effect of a motivational interviewing (MI)-based intervention as an addition to a standard weight loss programme (SWLP) on physical activity (PA) practice in obese adolescents over a six-month period. Fifty-four obese adolescents (mean age = 13 years, mean BMI = 29.57 kg/m²) were randomly assigned to an SWLP group (n = 28) or SWLP + MI group (n = 26). Both groups received two SWLP sessions, supplemented for the SWLP + MI group, by six MI sessions. Perceived autonomy support, perceived competence, motivational regulations, PA and BMI were assessed at baseline, three and six months (i.e. the end of the programme). MLM analyses revealed that compared to SWLP, the SWLP + MI group had a greater BMI decrease and a greater PA practice increase over time. Moreover, the SWLP + MI group reported greater autonomy support from medical staff at the end of the programme, greater increase in integrated and identified regulations and a stronger decrease in amotivation. MI appears as an efficient counselling method as an addition to an SWLP to promote PA in the context of pediatric obesity.


A Dyadic Action Control Trial in Overweight and Obese Couples (DYACTIC).

U Scholz, C Berli

BMC public health [14:1321] (2014)

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Enhancing physical activity in overweight and obese individuals is an important means to promote health in this target population. The Health Action Process Approach (HAPA), which was the theoretical framework of this study, focuses on individual self-regulation variables for successful health behavior change. One key self-regulation variable of this model is action control with its three subfacets awareness of intentions, self-monitoring and regulatory effort. The social context of individuals, however, is usually neglected in common health behavior change theories. In order to integrate social influences into the HAPA, this randomized controlled trial investigated the effectiveness of a dyadic conceptualization of action control for promoting physical activity. This protocol describes the design of a single-blind randomized controlled trial, which comprises four experimental groups: a dyadic action control group, an individual action control group and two control groups. Participants of this study are overweight or obese, heterosexual adult couples who intend to increase their physical activity. Blocking as means of a gender-balanced randomization is used to allocate couples to conditions and partners to either being the target person of the intervention or to the partner condition. The ecological momentary intervention takes place in the first 14 days after baseline assessment and is followed by another 14 days diary phase without intervention. Follow-ups are one month and six months later. Subsequent to the six-months follow-up another 14 days diary phase takes place.The main outcome measures are self-reported and accelerometer-assessed physical activity. Secondary outcome measures are Body Mass Index (BMI), aerobic fitness and habitual physical activity. This is the first study examining a dyadic action control intervention in comparison to an individual action control condition and two control groups applying a single-blind randomized control trial. Challenges with running couples studies as well as advantages and disadvantages of certain design-related decisions are discussed.


The role of self-regulating abilities in long-term weight loss in severely obese children and adolescents undergoing intensive combined lifestyle interventions (HELIOS); rationale, design and methods.

Jutka Halberstadt, Sabine Makkes, Emely de Vet, Anita Jansen, Chantal Nederkoorn, Olga Hvan der Baan-Slootweg, Jacob Seidell

BMC pediatrics [13:41] (2013)

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Adequate treatment of severe childhood obesity is important given its serious social, psychological and physical consequences. Self-regulation may be a crucial determinant of treatment success. Yet, little is known about the role that self-regulation and other psychosocial factors play in the long-term outcome of obesity treatment in severely obese children and adolescents.In this paper, we describe the design of a study that aims to determine whether the ability to self-regulate predicts long-term weight loss in severely obese children and adolescents. An additional objective is to identify other psychosocial factors that may modify this relation. The study is designed as a prospective observational study of 120 severely obese children and adolescents (8-19 years) and their parents/caregivers undergoing an intensive combined lifestyle intervention during one year. The intervention uses behavior change techniques to improve the general ability to self-regulate.Measurements will be taken at three points in time: at baseline (start of treatment), at the end of treatment (1 year after baseline) and at follow-up (2 years after baseline). The primary outcome measurement is the gender and age-specific change in SDS-BMI.The children's general self-regulation abilities are evaluated by two behavioral computer tasks assessing two distinct aspects of self-regulation that are particularly relevant to controlling food intake: inhibitory control (Stop Signal Task) and sensitivity to reward (Balloon Analogue Risk Task). In addition to the computer tasks, a self-report measure of eating-specific self-regulation ability is used. Psychosocial factors related to competence, motivation, relatedness and outcome expectations are examined as moderating factors using several questionnaires for the patients and their parents/caregivers. This study will provide knowledge about the relation between self-regulation and long-term weight loss after intensive lifestyle interventions over a two-year period in severely obese children and adolescents, a growing but often overlooked patient group. We aim to investigate to what extent (changes in) the general ability to self-regulate predicts weight loss and weight loss maintenance. This study will also contribute to the knowledge on how this association is modified by other psychosocial factors. The results may contribute to the development of more successful interventions. Netherlands Trial Register (NTR1678, registered 20-Feb-2009).


Testing mediator variables in a resistance training intervention for obese adults with type 2 diabetes.

David Lubans, Ronald Plotnikoff, Mary Jung, Neil Eves, Ron Sigal

Psychology & health [27:1388-404] (2012)

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A poor understanding of behaviour change mechanisms has hindered the development of effective physical activity interventions. The aim of this study was to identify potential mediators of change in a home-based resistance training (RT) program for obese individuals with type 2 diabetes. Obese individuals with type 2 diabetes (N = 48) were randomly allocated to either an RT intervention (n = 27) or a control group (n = 21) for the 16-week study period. The study sample included 16 men and 32 women and the mean age of participants was 54.4 (±11.7) years. Participants in the RT group received a multi-gym and dumbbells and home supervision from a certified personal trainer. RT behaviour was measured using a modified Godin Leisure Time Questionnaire. Social-cognitive constructs were measured and tested in a mediating variable framework using a product-of-coefficients test. The intervention had a significant effect on RT behaviour (p < 0.001) and muscular strength (p < 0.001). The intervention had a significant effect on RT planning strategies (p < 0.01), which mediated the effect of the intervention on RT behaviour. The home-based RT program successfully targeted participants' RT planning strategies which contributed to their exercise adherence.


The Feasibility of Reducing Sitting Time in Overweight and Obese Older Adults.

Dori Rosenberg, Nancy Gell, Salene Jones, Anne Renz, Jacqueline Kerr, Paul Gardiner, David Arterburn

Health education & behavior : the official publication of the Society for Public Health Education [42:669-76] (2015)

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Overweight and obese older adults have high sedentary time. We tested the feasibility and preliminary effects of a sedentary time reduction intervention among adults over age 60 with a body mass index over 27 kg/m2 using a nonrandomized one-arm design. Participants (N = 25, mean age = 71.4, mean body mass index = 34) completed an 8-week theory-based intervention targeting reduced total sitting time and increased sit-to-stand transitions. An inclinometer (activPAL) measured the primary outcomes, change in total sitting time and sit-to-stand transitions. Secondary outcomes included physical activity (ActiGraph GT3X+ accelerometer), self-reported sedentary behaviors, physical function (Short Physical Performance Battery), depressive symptoms (8-item Patient Health Questionnaire), quality of life (PROMIS), and study satisfaction. Paired t tests examined pre-post test changes in sitting time, sit-to-stand transitions, and secondary outcomes. Inclinometer measured sitting time decreased by 27 min/day (p < .05) and sit-to-stand transitions increased by 2 per day (p > .05), while standing time increased by 25 min/day (p < .05). Accelerometer measured sedentary time, light-intensity, and moderate-to-vigorous physical activity improved (all p values ≤ .05). Self-reported sitting time, gait speed, and depressive symptoms also improved (all p values < .05). Effect sizes were small. Study satisfaction was high. Reducing sitting time is feasible, and the intervention shows preliminary evidence of effectiveness among older adults with overweight and obesity. Randomized trials of sedentary behavior reduction in overweight and obese older adults, most of whom have multiple chronic conditions, may be promising.


Toward the optimal strategy for sustained weight loss in overweight cancer survivors: a systematic review of the literature.

Meeke Hoedjes, Maartje M van Stralen, Sheena Tjon A Joe, Matti Rookus, Flora van Leeuwen, Susan Michie, Jacob Seidell, Ellen Kampman

Journal of cancer survivorship : research and practice (2017)

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To gain more insight into the optimal strategy to achieve weight loss and weight loss maintenance in overweight and obese cancer survivors after completion of initial treatment, this systematic review aimed to provide an overview of the literature on intervention effects on weight, to describe intervention components used in effective interventions, to identify and synthesize behaviour change techniques (BCTs) and to assess the frequency with which these BCTs were used in effective interventions. Six databases were searched for original research articles describing weight changes in adult overweight cancer survivors after participation in a lifestyle intervention initiated after completion of initial treatment. Two researchers independently screened the retrieved papers and extracted BCTs using the BCT Taxonomy version 1. Thirty-two papers describing 27 interventions were included. Interventions that were evaluated with a robust study design (n = 8) generally showed <5% weight loss and did not evaluate effects at ≥12 months after intervention completion. Effective interventions promoted both diet and physical activity and used the BCTs 'goal setting (behaviour)', 'action planning', 'social support (unspecified)' and 'instruction on how to perform the behaviour'. The results of this first review on intervention components of effective interventions could be used to inform intervention development and showed a need for future publications to report long-term effects, a detailed intervention description and an extensive process evaluation. This study contributed to increasing knowledge on the optimal strategy to achieve weight loss, which is recommended for overweight cancer survivors to improve health outcomes.


Design of a Mobile App for Nutrition Education (TreC-LifeStyle) and Formative Evaluation With Families of Overweight Children.

Silvia Gabrielli, Marco Dianti, Rosa Maimone, Marta Betta, Lorena Filippi, Monica Ghezzi, Stefano Forti

JMIR mHealth and uHealth [5:e48] (2017)

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Nutrition and diet apps represent today a popular area of mobile health (mHealth), offering the possibility of delivering behavior change (BC) interventions for healthy eating and weight management in a scalable and cost-effective way. However, if commercial apps for pediatric weight management fail to retain users because of a lack of theoretical background and evidence-based content, mHealth apps that are more evidence-based are found less engaging and popular among consumers. Approaching the apps development process from a multidisciplinary and user-centered design (UCD) perspective is likely to help overcome these limitations, raising the chances for an easier adoption and integration of nutrition education apps within primary care interventions. The aim of this study was to describe the design and development of the TreC-LifeStyle nutrition education app and the results of a formative evaluation with families. The design of the nutrition education intervention was based on a multidisciplinary UCD approach, involving a team of BC experts, working with 2 nutritionists and 3 pediatricians from a primary care center. The app content was derived from evidence-based knowledge founded on the Food Pyramid and Mediterranean Diet guidelines used by pediatricians in primary care. A formative evaluation of the TreC-LifeStyle app involved 6 families of overweight children (aged 7-12 years) self-reporting daily food intake of children for 6 weeks and providing feedback on the user experience with the mHealth intervention. Analysis of the app's usage patterns during the intervention and of participants' feedback informed the refinement of the app design and a tuning of the nutrition education strategies to improve user engagement and compliance with the intervention. Design sessions with the contribution of pediatricians and nutritionists helped define the nutrition education app and intervention, providing an effective human and virtual coaching approach to raise parents' awareness about children's eating behavior and lifestyle. The 6 families participating in the pilot study found the app usable and showed high compliance with the intervention over the 6 weeks, but analysis of their interaction and feedback showed the need for improving some of the app features related to the BC techniques "monitoring of the behavior" and "information provision." The UCD and formative evaluation of TreC-LifeStyle show that nutrition education apps are feasible and acceptable solutions to support health promotion interventions in primary care.