Article Text

  1. A. Guardiola1
  1. 1The University of Texas Houston Health Science Center, Houston, TX.


Background No primary care interventions have been proven effective to treat childhood or adolescent obesity. Motivational interviewing (MI) is a brief counseling technique that appears promising as an intervention to change adolescent behavior; its usefulness in adolescent obesity has not been reviewed.

Purpose To systematically review the literature on MI and adolescent obesity.

Methods PubMed (National Library of Medicine) and the Cochrane Library databases were systematically searched for relevant articles. The following Medical Subject Headings (MeSH) were included: MI, childhood obesity, obesity, motivational counseling, brief intervention, and overweight. PubMed searches were limited to humans and English only. Inclusion criteria: randomized controlled trials, systematic reviews and observational studies of MI in children and randomized controlled trials, systematic reviews and observational studies of MI in childhood obesity and in obesity in all ages.

Summary of Results A total of 75 articles were found, of which 10 met the inclusion criteria. There were two Cochrane reviews, twp observational studies, one systematic review, one RCT of brief intervention and children, and four RCTs of MI and adult obesity. MI has been shown to have a modest effect in changing the behavior of adolescents about substance use, diabetes, dietary adherence, contraceptive use, and HIV/AIDS prevention, as well as changing lifestyle in adults. There were no studies addressing the use of MI in adolescent obesity.

Conclusions MI has a modest effect in modifying behavior in adolescents. It may be promising as an intervention to change adolescent lifestyle and help decrease BMI. Better clinical studies are needed to confirm this hypothesis.

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