(HealthDay News) — For overweight or obese adolescents, two group-based behavioral weight control interventions, combined with either aerobic activity or activity-based peer therapy, produce sustained improvements in body mass index (BMI) through 24 months, according to a study published online July 2 in Pediatrics.

Elizabeth E. Lloyd-Richardson, Ph.D., from the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, and colleagues conducted a randomized trial involving 118 obese adolescents, aged 13 to 16 years, who were assigned to receive one of two weight loss interventions. All participants received a 16-week group-based cognitive behavioral treatment, which was combined with either activity-based peer intervention or aerobic activity. Outcomes were examined in 89 adolescents who completed the 24-month follow-up.

The researchers found that there was a significant effect for time on both percent over the 50th percentile of BMI for age and gender and standardized BMI score, with no significant difference between the intervention groups. There was a significant reduction in the percent overweight at the end of the intervention, which was sustained at 12 and 24 months. On several dimensions of self-concept there were significant improvements observed, with the significant effect on physical appearance self-concept sustained through the 24-month follow-up.

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“Comprehensive intervention, including dietary and physical activity prescription along with behavioral modification, can be effective in reducing weight status in obese adolescents,” the authors write. “Although these reductions are modest, they are noteworthy given the typical trajectory of weight gain from adolescence into adulthood without intervention.”

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