Association for Behavior Analysis International

The Association for Behavior Analysis International® (ABAI) is a nonprofit membership organization with the mission to contribute to the well-being of society by developing, enhancing, and supporting the growth and vitality of the science of behavior analysis through research, education, and practice.


35th Annual Convention; Phoenix, AZ; 2009

Event Details

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Symposium #192
CE Offered: BACB
Treating Obesity: Basic Research to Clinical Intervention.
Sunday, May 24, 2009
10:30 AM–11:50 AM
North 224 A
Area: CBM; Domain: Applied Behavior Analysis
Chair: Tiffany N Newman (SIU- Carbondale)
Discussant: Matthew P. Normand (University of the Pacific)
CE Instructor: Mark R. Dixon, Ph.D.
Abstract: Obesity raises concerns because of its implications for health over the long term, and obese individuals are more likely to experience health risks such as hypertension, osteoarthritis, coronary artery disease, diabetes, and stroke. In 2006, the Center for Disease Control estimated that approximately 33% of all men and women and 16% of all children in the United States were obese. There is an obvious need for behavior analytic services related to health and lifestyle changes, but few behavior analysts have become invested with researching and treating obesity. Despite the high prevalence of obesity in the general population, only eight articles that specifically deal with obesity have been published in JABA since 1972. This symposium intends to present some current basic conceptualizations of obesity and unhealthy eating, and current clinical applications of behavior analysis to treat overweight individuals. A basic account of food preference and stimulus equivalence class formation will be presented, and it will be followed by a presentation on behavior analytic treatments for overweight children at the Kennedy Krieger Institute, as well as a presentation on family-based intervention programs for obesity among adolescents and young adults with Down Syndrome that are being conducted at the Shriver Center in Massachusetts.
Teaching Healthy Food Choices through Stimulus Equivalence
BECKY L. NASTALLY (Southern Illinois University), Nicholas Mui Ker Lik (Southern Illinois University), Mark R. Dixon (Southern Illinois University), Michael Bordieri (Southern Illinois University Carbondale), Adam D. Hahs (Southern Illinois University), Brooke Diane Walker (SIU Carbondale)
Abstract: Many popular weight loss programs incorporate psycho-educational components in order to assist people in changing their eating habits to make healthier choices. Little data exists on the utility of these components and it remains to be an empirical question whether failing to make healthy choices is actually a skill deficit. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to develop equivalence classes across types of foods, body images, and levels of physical activity. Participants were asked to make choices about which stimuli they preferred as well as which were healthier before and after match-to-sample (MTS) training and testing phases. The results of participants with a low body mass index (BMI) were compared with those who had a high BMI and implications of including psycho-educational material in weight management programs were discussed.
Childhood Obesity: Implications for Behavior Analysts
NICOLE LYNN HAUSMAN (Kennedy Krieger Institute), SungWoo Kahng (Kennedy Krieger Institute), Alyssa Fisher (Kennedy Krieger Institute), Emily D. Shumate (Kennedy Krieger Institute and The Johns Hopkins Un), Kaitlin Coryat (Kennedy Krieger Institute), Ayla Harris (Kennedy Krieger Institute)
Abstract: An estimated 40% of children in the United States are currently overweight or obese (BMI > 85th percentile for age, height, and gender). Family-based, behavioral weight management programs have been shown to be effective in the treatment of obesity among children and are well-respected within the research community (Epstein, Wing, Koeske, Andrasik, & Ossip, 1981). Currently, we are evaluating the efficacy of a clinical weight management program for overweight children ages 5-13 and their families. The Healthy Kids program is based on the Traffic Light eating plan and includes additional treatment components such as self-monitoring, contracting, goal-setting, and feedback (Epstein, Masek, & Marshall, 1978). Preliminary results suggest that 56% of children who complete the program are successful in achieving weight loss of between 1 and 14 lbs. Children who are successful in achieving weight loss generally display a high level of adherence to various treatment components. However, additional research is warranted to explore the underlying behavioral mechanisms contributing to obesity and lack of adherence in an effort to increase overall treatment efficacy. Thus, childhood obesity presents a unique opportunity for behavior analysts to focus on the antecedents and consequences of unhealthy behavior that may contribute to the obesity epidemic.
Family-Based Behavioral Weight Loss Intervention for Adolescents and Young Adults with Down Syndrome
RICHARD K. FLEMING (Shriver/UMass Medical School), Elise A. Stokes (Shriver Center/ UMass Medical School), Carol Curtin (University of Massachusetts Medical School), Linda Bandini (Shriver Center/ UMass Medical School), James Gleason (Shriver Center/ UMass Medical School), Renee Scampini (Shriver Center/ UMass Medical School), Melissa C. T. Maslin (Shriver/UMass Medical School), Charles Hamad (UMASS Medical School)
Abstract: Obesity is a significant problem facing persons with intellectual disabilities (ID) (US Department of Health & Human Services, 2002). Family-based behavioral interventions have been reasonably effective in promoting weight loss among typically developing children (Young et al., 2007). Health U. is an ongoing randomized controlled trial (RCT) that addresses the need to replicate this research with adolescents and young adults with Down syndrome. Procedural components are described, and data are presented on changes in weight, BMIz, body fat (bioelectrical impedance), physical activity (accelerometry), dietary behavior and knowledge acquisition. Challenges are addressed, particularly the need for procedures that will better promote long-term maintenance of weight loss.



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