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Bright Bodies Weight Management Program

Blueprints Program Rating: Promising

A childhood obesity program that teaches inner-city kids, teens & their families about healthy weight management and how to prevent the health risks of childhood obesity with the use of nutrition education, behavior modification and exercise.

Program Outcomes

  • Chronic Health Problems
  • Obesity
  • Physical Health and Well-Being

Program Type

  • Counseling and Social Work
  • Skills Training

Program Setting

  • Home
  • Hospital/Medical Center

Continuum of Intervention

  • Indicated Prevention (Early Symptoms of Problem)


  • Late Childhood (5-11) - K/Elementary
  • Early Adolescence (12-14) - Middle School
  • Late Adolescence (15-18) - High School


  • Male and Female


  • All Race/Ethnicity


  • Blueprints: Promising

Program Information Contact

Mary Savoye
Yale University School of Medicine
2 Church St. South, Suite 201
New Haven, CT 06520
(203) 737-4384

Program Developer/Owner

  • Mary Savoye
  • Yale University School of Medicine

Brief Description of the Program

The Yale Bright Bodies Weight Management Program is a family-based, intensive lifestyle intervention that uses nutrition education, behavior modification and exercise to address weight and weight-related issues in children and adolescents. The program is designed for ethnically diverse, obese, inner-city youth. Participants and caregivers are provided nutrition education and behavior modification techniques in 40-minute sessions, once per week, for six months, followed by every other week for the next six months. The exercise component, facilitated by exercise physiologists, is provided in two 50-minute sessions once per week for the first 6 months and two 50-minute sessions twice per month for the next 6 months.

See: Full Description


Participants in the Bright Bodies program experienced the following outcomes:

  • minimal weight gain over 12 months, despite increases in height resulting in a reduction in BMI
  • a 4% reduction in body fat; and reductions in total cholesterol and insulin sensitivity at 12 months
  • maintenance of the improvements for 1 year after the intervention (2 year study)

A subsample of participants was also measured on glucose and insulin sensitivity and participants in the treatment group experienced the following outcomes after 12 months:

  • a 53% reduction in insulin levels
  • a 42% increase in whole body insulin sensitivity index
  • a small, but statistically significant, decrease in glucose levels
  • a significant conversion from prediabetes to normal glucose for intervention and conversion from normal to prediabetes in control group

Race/Ethnicity/Gender Details

Bright Bodies comprised an ethnically diverse group of children from economically disadvantaged neighborhoods. There were no differences in any outcome measures between ethnic groups and sexes.

Risk and Protective Factors

Risk Factors
  • Individual: Poor diet
  • Family: Low socioeconomic status
Protective Factors
  • Individual: Coping Skills, Exercise
  • Family: Parent social support

Training and Technical Assistance

17 hour training of all disciplines – coordinator/director (C/D)
11 hour training for exercise (EX), nutrition (N), and parent class (P) staff

Day 1 - 5 hrs.*
Overview of Program – 1.5 hrs (ALL)
Exercise Physiologist training – 3 hrs (EX, C/D)

  • 1 hr. individual
  • 2 hr. observe program exercise

Day 2 - 6 hrs.
Overview of Obesity & Clinical

  • Observation or case study– 3 hrs (ALL)
  • Coordinator/Director Training 3 hrs (C/D)

Day 3 - 6 hrs.
Nutrition/Behavior Modification Training – 2 hrs. (C/D,N,P)
Parent Class Training – 1 hr.(C/D, N, P)
Observe Program – 3 hrs.

  • Technician Training – Onsite, during program 1 hr.
  • Observe nutrition/behavior – 1.5 hrs. (C/D,N,P, EX)
  • Discussion/Question & Answer Period (ALL)

Training Cost

Cost $1,200 for 3 staff members ($300 for each additional staff)
Travel, hotel, and food costs are responsibility of trainees.

Module Modification

*If a third day of training is not possible, overview and exercise training could be incorporated on Wed and Thurs. Program overview would take place 12-2 on Wednesday and exercise training would occur one hour before program at 4:30 Thursday. This module, however, does not allow for cross-training of disciplines between exercise and nutrition staff.

Brief Evaluation Methodology

Bright Bodies was evaluated using a parallel group, randomized control trial that recruited participants from a Pediatric Obesity Clinic who were between the ages of 8 and 16, with a body mass index (BMI) above 95th percentile based on the Center for Disease Control growth chart. A total of 209 participants were randomly assigned to a weight management group and a control group. However, due to discontinuation of a part of the program, 105 participants ended up in the treatment group and 69 participants in the control group. The program was delivered for one year; measures were collected at baseline, 6 months, 12 months and 24 months for both the treatment and control groups at the same facility using the same scales and instruments. Changes in outcomes between the two groups were compared using a mixed effects model with covariate adjustments for baseline measures. A subset of 23 participants was examined to evaluate the program's impact on glucose metabolism and insulin sensitivity.


Savoye, M., Nowicka, P., Shaw, M., Yu, S., Dziura, J., Chavent, G., ... Caprio, S. (2011). Long-term results of an obesity program in an ethnically diverse pediatric population. Pediatrics, 127(3),1-9.

Savoye, M., Shaw, M., Dziura, J., Tamborlane, W., Rose, P., Guandalini, C., ... Caprio, S. (2007). Effects of a weight management program on body composition and metabolic parameters in overweight children: A randomized control trial. Journal of the American Medical Association, 297(24),2697-2704.

Shaw, M., Savoye, M., Cali, A., Dziura, J., Tamborlane, W., & Caprio, S. (2009). Effect of a successful intensive lifestyle program on insulin sensitivity and glucose tolerance in obese youth. Diabetes Care, 32(1),45-47.