Treatment of morbid obesity in low-income adolescents: Effects of parental self-monitoring

Daniel S. Kirschenbaum, Julie N. Germann, Barry H. Rich

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

53 Scopus citations


Objective: This study examined the extent to which consistency of self-monitoring by participants and their parents was related to weight control over an initial period of 3 months within the context of a treatment program for morbidly obese low-income minority adolescents. Research Methods and Procedures: Eighty-three obese adolescents (mean age, 13.0 years; 51 % boys; 92% African American; mean BMI, 43.0 kg/m2; mean BMI z-score, 6.0) and at least one parent participated in a long-term treatment program that included a very-low-fat dietary focus, weekly group cognitive-behavior therapy, monthly nutrition education classes, a 12-week physical therapy class, and medical monitoring. Results: Participants who self-monitored on the majority of days compared with those who did not self-monitor at all or who self-monitored infrequently attended more sessions and generally lost more weight over the first 3 months. Although parents signed behavioral contracts committing to self-monitor their own eating and exercising over the first month, only 12% did so. Nonetheless, participants whose parents self-monitored were much more likely to self-monitor consistently and lose weight during the first 3 months. Discussion: These results indicate that self-monitoring is a cornerstone of successful weight control even for morbidly obese low-income minority adolescents; targeting consistency of self-monitoring among these high-risk weight controllers and their parents should be just as important as it is for more affluent and less overweight adolescents.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1527-1529
Number of pages3
JournalObesity research
Issue number9
StatePublished - 2005


  • Cognitive-behavior therapy
  • Overweight
  • Self-observation
  • Weight loss

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Food Science
  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Endocrinology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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