Background

Negative body image (NBI) may be an overlooked risk factor for poor treatment outcome among women in behavioral weight loss. In a randomized pilot trial, we demonstrated that a 4-week, empirically-supported body image intervention designed for adolescent females of healthy body weight (the Body Project) could be combined with dietary and physical activity tracking among adult women with overweight or obesity attempting weight loss. The current study investigates 6- and 12-month weight change among participants in the randomized study.

Methods

Women who wanted to lose weight and endorsed NBI (n=61; BMI: 30.7±3.0; Age: 41.8±10.7years) were randomized to one of two, 8-week, treatment conditions. The control group (CON) received a calorie goal for weight loss, physical activity goal of 150 minutes of moderate intensity activity/week, and tools for tracking dietary intake and physical activity. The intervention group (INT) included the calorie/exercise goal, daily tracking, and four, weekly, group Body Project sessions. Assessments were completed at baseline, 8-weeks, 6-mos, and 12-mos. Height/weight were measured by study staff and percent weight loss (%WL) was calculated from the 8-week assessment.

Results

Participants did not differ in baseline BMI (p=.57) or %WL at the end of the 8-week trial (CON:-1.52%, INT: -1.87 %, p=.73). Weight change did not differ between conditions at 6-mos (CON (n=15): +.4%, INT (n=14): -1.72%, p=.36) but did differ at 12-mos (CON (n=13):+2.6%, INT (n=12):-2.5%, p=.05). Participation in assessments did not differ by condition at 8-week (χ2=.001, p=.97), 6-mos (χ2=1.6, p=.21) or 12-mos (χ2=.79, p=.37).

Conclusions

While CON participants demonstrated the common weight regain pattern between 6- and 12-months, INT participants continued to lose weight through 12 months. This is notable given participants did not receive standard behavioral treatment (SBT). These pilot data suggest that addressing NBI may improve long-term weight loss among women with overweight/obesity.