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Motivational Interviewing Aids Weight Loss in Primary Care

Review shows benefit for patients, with significant weight loss reported in 37.5 percent of studies

MONDAY, April 6, 2015 (HealthDay News) — Motivational interviewing can help patients lose weight in a primary care setting, according to a review published in the April issue of Obesity Reviews.

Rachel D. Barnes, Ph.D., and Valentina Ivezaj, Ph.D., from the Yale University School of Medicine in New Haven, Conn., conducted a systematic review of 24 randomized controlled trials to examine motivational interviewing for weight loss among adults in primary care. Motivational interviewing interventions were generally provided individually and compared with usual care. Adequate information regarding motivational interviewing treatment fidelity was provided by few studies.

The researchers found that significant weight loss was reported in nine studies (37.5 percent) at post-treatment assessment for the motivational interviewing versus the control condition. Achievement of at least 5 percent loss of initial body weight was reported in 13 studies (54.2 percent).

“There is potential for motivational interviewing to help primary care patients lose weight,” the authors write. “Conclusions, however, must be drawn cautiously as more than half of the reviewed studies showed no significant weight loss compared with usual care and few reported motivational interviewing treatment fidelity.”

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