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Obes Res. 1996 Sep;4(5):457-62.

Effects of a personal trainer and financial incentives on exercise adherence in overweight women in a behavioral weight loss program.

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Psychiatry Department, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, PA 15213, USA.


Exercise is important for long-term weight loss, but few studies have examined ways to improve exercise adherence in overweight subjects participating in a behavioral weight loss program. This paper presents two studies, one conducted at the University of Pittsburgh and one at the University of Minnesota, that sought to improve exercise adherence by exerting more direct control over the environmental antecedents and consequences controlling exercise. Study 1 investigated the use of a personal trainer who called participants regularly and met them at their home or office at scheduled times for a walk. Study 2 investigated the effect of a lottery incentive for exercise adherence. In both studies, the effect of these manipulations was examined in the context of a 24-week standard behavioral weight control program with three supervised exercise sessions per week. Neither intervention achieved statistically significant improvements in exercise adherence compared to control conditions, perhaps due in part to the limited statistical power of the studies. Future studies should focus on better understanding the barriers to exercise and designing behavioral interventions that address these barriers.

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