Interventions for weight gain prevention during the transition to young adulthood: a review of the literature.

Journal Article (Journal Article;Review)

PURPOSE: To review studies examining weight gain prevention interventions among young adults. METHODS: A snowball strategy was used to identify relevant studies, beginning with systematic PubMed, MEDLINE, PsychINFO, Education Resources Information Center (ERIC), and Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health Literature (CINAHL) searches. INCLUDED STUDIES: (a) were published from 1985 to 2011; (b) were completed in the United States or Canada; (c) focused on weight gain prevention among young adults aged 18-35 years, assessing weight, body mass index, body composition, diet, or physical activity as an outcome; and (d) comprised pre- and postintervention assessments. RESULTS: Thirty-seven interventions were identified. Ten interventions assessed weight, body mass index, or body composition; 27 addressed other relevant outcomes (e.g., diet, physical activity). Of the studies examining weight or body composition, six evaluated university courses or seminar-based interventions. Overall, many studies focused on individual-level intervention delivery and changes in weight-related knowledge and/or skills, although some incorporated relatively unique aspects (e.g., focusing on eating disorders and obesity simultaneously, using online technology, providing personalized feedback on weight change). Most showed promising results as small-scale pilot studies but lacked data from fully powered randomized trials. CONCLUSIONS: There is an urgent need to develop effective young adult-focused weight gain prevention strategies. This review identified promising areas for future work, although much additional research is needed.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Laska, MN; Pelletier, JE; Larson, NI; Story, M

Published Date

  • April 2012

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 50 / 4

Start / End Page

  • 324 - 333

PubMed ID

  • 22443834

Pubmed Central ID

  • PMC3406485

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1879-1972

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1016/j.jadohealth.2012.01.016


  • eng

Conference Location

  • United States