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Deconstructing Weight Management Interventions for Young Adults: Looking Inside the Black Box of the EARLY Consortium Trials.

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The goal of the present study was to deconstruct the 17 treatment arms used in the Early Adult Reduction of weight through LifestYle (EARLY) weight management trials.


Intervention materials were coded to reflect behavioral domains and behavior change techniques (BCTs) within those domains planned for each treatment arm. The analytical hierarchy process was employed to determine an emphasis profile of domains in each intervention.


The intervention arms used BCTs from all of the 16 domains, with an average of 29.3 BCTs per intervention arm. All 12 of the interventions included BCTs from the six domains of Goals and Planning, Feedback and Monitoring, Social Support, Shaping Knowledge, Natural Consequences, and Comparison of Outcomes; 11 of the 12 interventions shared 15 BCTs in common across those six domains.


Weight management interventions are complex. The shared set of BCTs used in the EARLY trials may represent a core intervention that could be studied to determine the required emphases of BCTs and whether additional BCTs add to or detract from efficacy. Deconstructing interventions will aid in reproducibility and understanding of active ingredients.

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