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Int J Eat Disord. 2010 Dec;43(8):701-6. doi: 10.1002/eat.20773.

A pilot study of interpersonal psychotherapy for preventing excess weight gain in adolescent girls at-risk for obesity.

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  • 1Unit on Growth and Obesity, Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Heath and Human Development, National Institutes of Health, DHHS, Bethesda, Maryland, USA. mtanofsky@usuhs.mil



Interpersonal psychotherapy (IPT) is effective at reducing binge episodes and inducing weight stabilization in obese adults with binge eating disorder.


We piloted the administration of IPT to girls at-risk for excess weight gain (BMI 75th-97th percentile; IPT-WG) with and without loss of control (LOC) eating. Thirty-eight girls (12-17 years) were randomized to IPT-WG or a standard-of-care health education group.


All 38 girls completed the programs and all follow-up visits through 6 months. Thirty-five of 38 returned for a complete assessment visit at 1 year. Among girls with baseline LOC (n = 20), those in IPT-WG experienced greater reductions in such episodes than girls in health education (p = .036). Regardless of LOC status, over 1 year girls in IPT-WG were less likely to increase their BMI as expected for their age and BMI percentile (p = .028).


IPT-WG is feasible and acceptable to adolescent girls at-risk for adult obesity and may prevent excess weight gain over 1 year.

© 2009 by Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

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