Motivational interviews are no better in weight loss programs

There is no evidence to suggest that motivational interviews (MIs) increase the effectiveness of behavioral weight management programs (BWMPs) to control weight, according to a systematic review and meta-analysis published online March 29 in the Annals of Internal Medicine .

Moscho Michalopoulou, of the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom, and colleagues examined MI’s independent contributions as part of a BWMP in a review of randomized controlled trials in adults or adolescents. Data were included from 46 studies involving 11,077 participants, mainly with obesity.

The researchers found that BWMPs using MI were more effective than no / minimal intervention after six months (-0.88 kg; 95 percent confidence interval, -1.27 to -0.48 kg), but they were not significantly more effective than lower intensity (-0.88 kg; 95 percent confidence interval, -2.39 to 0.62 kg) or similar intensity (-1.36 kg; 95 percent confidence interval, -2.80 to 0.07 kg) BWMPs. Data were too sparse to compile comparisons with no minimal intervention after one year; MI did not produce statistically significantly greater weight change compared to BWMPs with lower or similar intensity without MI. Data were also sparse from studies with 18 months of follow-up; no significant benefit was seen with MI in any of the comparison categories. Too few studies were available to collect data on psychological well-being; however, data did not suggest that MI was independently effective.

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“There is no evidence that MI for people receiving treatment to control their weight makes a meaningful difference to weight loss or well-being when added to a BWMP,” the authors write.

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