Obese Girls Benefit from Psychotherapy

Obese girls who undergo psychotherapy sessions show better weight management skills than girls who take a health education course.  New research shows that psychotherapy can help prevent binge eating by providing emotional support.

A new study reveals that obese girls who undergo psychotherapy sessions show better weight management skills than girls who take a health education course.

Scientists from two organizations recruited 38 obese girls for a one-year study that randomly split up the participants between regular health education classes and interpersonal psychotherapy sessions. Researchers theorized that the kind of binge eating that caused the girls’ obesity occurred mainly because they had poor social skills and a bad self-image. But with therapy in place to help the girls feel supported and cope better emotionally, the researchers saw the binge eating taper off, resulting in a lower body mass index.

Dr. Marian Tanofsky-Kraff, who led the study, said the results showed how effective psychotherapy could be among adolescent girls who are at risk for adult obesity. She added that if therapy sessions could help prevent excess weight gain among young people, they could also prevent some of the health problems that obesity is known to cause, such as diabetes.

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