Aschbrenner KA, Naslund JA, Gorin AA, Mueser KT, Browne J, Wolfe RS, Xie H, & Bartels SJ. (2022). Group Lifestyle Intervention With Mobile Health for Young Adults With Serious Mental Illness: A Randomized Controlled Trial. Psychiatric Services (Washington, D.C.), 73(2), 141–148. https://doi.org/10.1176/appi.ps.202100047
A study tested the effectiveness of PeerFIT, a group lifestyle intervention enhanced with mobile health for young adults with serious mental illness who were overweight or obese. PeerFIT is a 12-month, manualized group lifestyle intervention that includes weight loss and physical activity goals and a curriculum delivered by lifestyle coaches. One hundred fifty participants receiving services in partner community mental health centers were randomly assigned to the PeerFIT intervention or an active control condition (one-on-one basic education coaching and activity tracking). Eligible participants were 18-35 years of age, with serious mental illness and a body mass index at least 25kg/m2. PeerFIT had a 6-month phase of twice-weekly group meetings, followed by a 6-month maintenance phase of weekly exercise sessions. The intervention also used a private Facebook group where participants can access information, post content that support healthy lifestyles, and receive text message reminders and encouragement from the coach. Data was collected on cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk reduction, cardiorespiratory fitness (CRF), and weight loss at 6- and 12-month follow-up. The results showed no significant differences between the PeerFIT and control groups in reduced CVD risk, CRF, or weight loss. Participants in both arms achieved clinically significant CVD risk reduction, weight loss, and CRF between baseline and follow-ups. Although PeerFIT was not superior to one-on-one coaching in achieving reduced CVD risk, mobile Health coaching may be a more scalable innovation than in-person group interventions for young adults in routine mental health care settings.