Therapy Shown to Help Teen Girls Reduce BMI

teensResearch published in the International Journal of Eating Disorders has shown that therapy may be more beneficial in preventing young girls from becoming overweight than traditional health education classes for teenagers. The study followed 38 girls who had an above average weight, some of whom also reported episodes of loss of control eating or binge eating.

Both above average weight and episodes of loss of control eating are considered characteristics that make someone high-risk for developing obesity. The girls were randomly distributed into two groups, either attending Interpersonal Psychotherapy sessions or standard health education classes. All of the research participants completed the courses to which they had been assigned and received follow-up visits for a year. The girls who participated in Interpersonal Psychotherapy were more likely to stabilize or even decrease their BMI than the girls who participated in the health education courses that are traditionally offered to teenagers.

Interpersonal Psychotherapy (or IPT) addresses social and interpersonal struggles, aiming to improve interpersonal relationships and remove the stimulus to engage in binges or periods of loss of control eating. IPT is a fairly new treatment; it has only been in use for 30 or so years. Interpersonal Psychotherapy has been utilized, prior to this research, to treat depression, bipolar disorder, substance abuse, and eating disorders in adults. The success of IPT in preventing obesity demonstrates just how important positive relationships and self-esteem are to personal health; mental health is essential to physical health.

What is preventing you from having positive social relationships? A counselor or coach may be able to help you figure out the answer to this question and/or how to solve the problem. Although it may be uncomfortable, it may be an important component to controlling eating and getting to the weight you desire.

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