Findings from this secondary analysis indicate that young adults are dramatically underrepresented in BWL studies. Only 7% of most participants were ≤35 years. Furthermore, those few young adults who did enroll didn’t fare as well as old participants, as evidenced by poorer attendance and retention rates, and poorer weight loss.
Moreover, these differences remained after matching both young adults and adults on gender even, race, study and ethnicity, indicating that age contributes to these disparities above and beyond related demographic factors exclusively. It’s important to note that although weight losses attained by young adults in these trials were significantly lesser than those attained by older participants, differential retention and attendance seems to be driving these findings.
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That is, differences in weight loss were no significant when watching only treatment completers in the entire sample longer, or after changing for session attendance in both full and matched samples. This suggests that for the few adults who signed up for these scheduled programs and remained engaged over time, standard BWL programs were effective in producing initial weight loss. However, adults who both enroll and are retained over time signify an extremely small percentage of participants, which raises concerns about the entire effectiveness of standard format BWL programs for the young adult inhabitants.
It is probable that recruitment strategies have to be modified considerably to reach this generation. Although data were not …