Most clinic-based weight control treatments for youth have been designed for preadolescent children by using family-based care. However, as adolescents become more autonomous and less motivated by parental influence, this strategy may be less appropriate. This study evaluated a primary care–based, multicomponent lifestyle intervention specifically tailored for overweight adolescent females.


Adolescent girls (N = 208) 12 to 17 years of age (mean ± SD: 14.1 ± 1.4 years), with a mean ± SD BMI percentile of 97.09 ± 2.27, were assigned randomly to the intervention or usual care control group. The gender and developmentally tailored intervention included a focus on adoptable healthy lifestyle behaviors and was reinforced by ongoing feedback from the teen’s primary care physician. Of those randomized, 195 (94%) completed the 6-month posttreatment assessment, and 173 (83%) completed the 12-month follow-up. The primary outcome was reduction in BMI z score.


The decrease in BMI z score over time was significantly greater for intervention participants compared with usual care participants (−0.15 in BMI z score among intervention participants compared with −0.08 among usual care participants; P = .012). The 2 groups did not differ in secondary metabolic or psychosocial outcomes. Compared with usual care, intervention participants reported less reduction in frequency of family meals and less fast-food intake.


A 5-month, medium-intensity, primary care–based, multicomponent behavioral intervention was associated with significant and sustained decreases in BMI z scores among obese adolescent girls compared with those receiving usual care.

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