Motivational Interviewing as a Component of a School-Based Obesity Prevention Program for Adolescent Girls

Colleen F Flattum, Sarah E Friend, Dianne Neumark-Sztainer, Mary T Story

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

41 Scopus citations


Over the past decade, motivational interviewing has been used by health professionals to promote health behavior changes and help individuals increase their motivation or "readiness" to change. This paper describes a preliminary study that evaluated the feasibility of motivational interviewing as a component of New Moves, a school-based obesity prevention program. New Moves is a program for inactive adolescent high school girls who are overweight or at risk of becoming overweight due to low levels of physical activity. Throughout the 18-week pilot study, 41 girls, age 16 to 18 years, participated in an all-girls physical education class that focused on increasing physical activity, healthful eating, and social support. Individual sessions, using motivational interviewing techniques, were also conducted with 20 of the girls to develop goals and actions related to eating and physical activity. Among the 20 girls, 81% completed all seven of the individual sessions, and girls set a goal 100% of the time. Motivational interviewing offers a promising component of school-based obesity-prevention programs and was found to be feasible to implement in school settings and acceptable to the adolescents.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)91-94
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of the American Dietetic Association
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2009

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This study was supported by grant R01 DK063107 from the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, National Institutes of Health. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institute of Diabetes and Kidney Diseases or the National Institutes of Health.


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