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Pediatrics. 1990 Mar;85(3):345-52.

Obesity in black adolescent girls: a controlled clinical trial of treatment by diet, behavior modification, and parental support.

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  • 1Department of Psychiatry, University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, Philadelphia 19104.


Recent findings indicate that nearly 50% of black American women are obese and that adolescence is a critical period for the development of their obesity. This study investigated the efficacy of a behavioral weight control program in 36 black female adolescents with a mean age of 14.0 years, weight of 95.0 kg, and height of 163.2 cm. All subjects participated in the same 16-week program but had different levels of parent participation: (1) child alone with no parent participation; (2) mother and child treated in the same session; and (3) mother and child treated in separate but concurrent session. At the end of the 16-week program, children in the three conditions lost 1.6, 3.7, and 3.1 kg, respectively. Differences among conditions were not statistically significant; however, a secondary analysis revealed that the greater the number of sessions attended by mothers, the greater their daughters' weight losses. Weight reduction was associated with significant improvements in body composition, serum total cholesterol concentrations, and psychological status. Results are discussed in terms of the need to improve the maintenance of weight loss in adolescents and to explore possible differences between black and white females in their preferred body types.

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