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 used to evaluate the feasibility of motivational interviewing as a component in a school-based obesity prevention program, New Moves. New Moves is a program for inactive adolescent high school girls who are overweight or at risk for becoming overweight due to low levels of physical activity. Throughout the 18-week pilot study, 41 girls, aged 16–18 participated in an all-girls physical education class that focused on increasing physical activity, healthy 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 participants, 81% completed all seven of the individual sessions and girls set a goal 100% of the time. Motivational interviewing offers a promising approach as a component for school-based obesity prevention programs and was demonstrated to be feasible to implement in school settings and acceptable to the adolescents.
Keywords: behavior change, motivational interviewing, obesity prevention, adolescent girls