Department of Psychiatry
Penn Behavioral Health

Center for Weight and Eating Disorders

subpage feature

subpage feature

subpage feature

Ongoing Research


Currently Recruiting


ACT Healthy – A Weight Loss Study for Teens

Do you know a teen who wants to lose weight? Penn’s Center for Weight and Eating Disorders is offering a 16-week weight management research study for adolescents. This study will compare the results a behavioral weight loss group to standard care for helping teens manage their weight. A parent or guardian’s participation is required. There is no cost for participation.

Your teen may be eligible if:

  • S/he is between 13 and 17 years of age
  • S/he is overweight by about 25 pounds or more (weight at or above the 95th percentile for your height, age, and gender)
  • S/he is free of significant health problems
  • S/he lives no more than 40 minutes from The University of Pennsylvania

For more information, contact the ACT Healthy study at 215-746-5030 or email Jena at


The Child Nutrition Research Study

We are seeking children (ages 7-9) and their mother to participate in a nutrition research study.  Children will be asked to eat breakfast, lunch, and dinner in our Center once a week for two weeks.

Each visit will last from 8:00am until 5:30pm. Children will also be  asked to have their body measurements assessed on two separate occasions.

Call (215) 746-7188 for the Child Nutrition Research Study.

All meals and compensation ($355) are provided.


Healthy Volunteers Needed for Study of the Timing of Eating

Doctors at the Perelman School of Medicine of the University of Pennsylvania are studying the influence of the timing of eating on weight and metabolism.

We are seeking healthy volunteers for a research study.  You may qualify to participate if you are:

  • Between the ages of 21 and 45 years old
  • Normal weight 
  • Non-smoking 
  • Not working a night shift  
  • Not going to bed regularly after midnight or waking up regularly after 9:00 am 
  • Willing to eat food provided by the study for up to four months

This research study involves two outpatient assessments for screening.  You will be assigned time frames to eat the food we provide you for a total of four months, with a two week break mid-way through.  You will have a total of 4 overnight inpatient assessment visits during the study. Volunteers will be compensated for their participation.

For more information, call Christina at (215) 573-5502 or email at

The Flavor Savor Study

Researchers at University of Pennsylvania, in collaboration with Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, are conducting a study on children’s eating habits and eating rate. The goal of this study is to test out an intervention to improve children’s eating habits and help families enjoy meals together.

Children between the ages of 4 and 7 years old, along with a parent, are invited to participate. Following screening to determine eligibility, children will be provided with 2 meals, 6 weeks apart. Participating families will also attend up to 5 education sessions regarding healthy eating practices. The study lasts 12 weeks.

There is no cost to participate in the study. Families will be compensated for their time and effort.

If interested, please contact:

Lisa Diewald M.S., R.D.
Center for Weight and Eating Disorders
University of Pennsylvania, School of Medicine


Ongoing Research (Closed to recruitment/recruiting from direct referrals):

Coping with Negative Experiences Related to Weight

Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania are offering a new group
program to help individuals cope with negative experiences related to
weight. You may be eligible to participate if you are 18 years or older,
overweight, concerned about your weight, and your weight affects how you
feel about yourself. This is not a weight loss program, but strategies for
improving health habits will be discussed.

There is no cost to participate. Individuals who volunteer to participate
will be compensated for their time and effort.

If interested, please call (215) 746-5129.

A Randomized, Controlled Trial of Lifestyle Modification and Lorcaserin for Weight Loss Maintenance

A long-term weight loss trial that includes a behavioral weight loss program and an FDA-approved weight loss medication. This study is no longer recruiting.

For more information, email


Depression and Weight Loss Study

This 11-month research study involves 20 weeks of combined therapy for depression and weight loss at the Center for Weight and Eating Disorders (3535 Market St.). This study is no longer recruiting.

For more information, call Christina at 215-573-5502.


Volunteers Needed for a type 2 diabetes research Study

  • Do you have type 2 diabetes AND heart disease?
  • Are you at least 40 years old and stable on your medication?

This research study will be investigating the safety and effectiveness of a diabetes medication taken once weekly.

For information call Patricia at 215-746-7193 or email


Neuroimaging Research Study

We are seeking women who are interested in how the brain responds to food.  You may qualify to participate if you are:

  • Female over the age of 18
  • At least 50 pounds overweight
  • Non-diabetic
  • Non-smoking

This research study involves three visits over an 18 month period to the Clinical and Translational Research Center at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania for MRI brain scans and blood draws.  Participants will be compensated for their time.

For more information and to see if you are eligible to participate, please contact:

Center for Weight and Eating Disorders
University of Pennsylvania, School of Medicine
(215) 746-7342

Obesity and Weight Loss among Endometrial Cancer Survivors

Dr. Kelly Allison and Dr. Ashley Haggerty (Ob/Gyn)

This is a study funded by the Transdisciplinary Research on Energetics and Cancer (TREC) center grant at Penn Medicine. We are examining the efficacy of two technology based weight loss interventions as compared to enhanced usual care among endometrial cancer survivors, and the impact of weight loss on biomedical markers of cancer.  Participants are recruited from the Jordan Center for Gynecologic Cancer at the Abramson Cancer Center at Penn Medicine and at Pennsylvania Hospital's Gynecology Oncology clinic.  For more information about this study, please contact Becki Dilks,


Look AHEAD (Action for Health in Diabetes)
Dr. Thomas A. Wadden

This 16-site, NIH-funded study will examine the benefits of a lifestyle intervention on overweight men and women with Type 2 Diabetes over 11 years (until 2012). The study is closed to new enrollment.