An online lifestyle intervention program focused on teens considering weight loss surgery



What is TeenLYFT?

TeenLYFT is an online lifestyle intervention program developed by researchers and clinicians from UTHealth Houston, UT Southwestern, and Children's Health. It was created specifically to help teens with losing weight, keeping it off, and maintaining a healthy lifestyle before and after bariatric surgery. The program is meant to work in coordination with what teens are already doing with their doctor and weight-wellness team.

Delivered through Facebook or YouTube as short 3-5 minute videos, it is separated into two parts. The first part contains videos designed to get teens ready for weight loss surgery, covering topics such as eating healthy, being motivated, and providing tips and tricks that have worked for other teens. The second part of the program starts after surgery. It focuses more on helping teens keep the weight off, highlighting issues others have had, and building a foundation for long-term success.


TeenLYFT Exercise



Overview of bariatric surgery at Children's Health featuring Faisal G. Qureshi, MD and Grayce O'Neill, PA-C.

Source: Children's Health


Why is this important?

Obesity is associated with increased risk of disease and death and is considered a significant public health problem in the United States as rates continue to rise steadily.

Bariatric surgery is a safe and effective treatment for those battling obesity, as well as for those battling with co-existing conditions such as type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular diseases. It has been shown that teens with obesity who undergo bariatric surgery are more likely to live longer and enjoy better quality of life in comparison to those who opt out of having the surgery. For this reason, this procedure is becoming increasingly common, especially in cases where attempts to follow conventional treatment methods (such as increasing physical activities and decreasing food intake) have failed.



Am I eligible and what would I need to do?

To be eligible, you must:

  1. Be between 12–18 years of age.
  2. Have parent/guardian permission to participate if you are a minor.
  3. Be a patient referred for bariatric surgery at Children's Health.
  4. Not have diabetes that requires taking mealtime insulin.
  5. Have a Facebook or YouTube account to access the healthy lifestyle intervention.


TeenLYFT Timepoints


If you meet the requirements and enroll in the research study, you will invited to join a private Facebook group and YouTube channel to access the healthy lifestyle intervention. The intervention is composed of short 3-5 minute informative videos on how to prepare for bariatric surgery and how to stay healthy after surgery. We estimate the intervention would take up to 26 hours across a span of 18 months. This would involve mostly watching videos at your own pace. If you choose to, you may also connect with others going through their weight loss journey.

There will be 3 online surveys that you will need to complete. These usually take 5-10 minutes. The first one will be during study enrollment. The second and third will be after surgery, and both will be emailed to you. Surveys will let us know how you are doing and if you have any suggestions to help us improve the program.

If you have the bariatric surgery, you may be provided a fitness tracker, a smart scale, and fitness equipment (see Incentives). To qualify for these, you must agree to 1) wear the fitness tracker for the duration of the study, including when sleeping, taking if off only when bathing or to charge; 2) weigh yourself weekly on the smart scale; and 3) use the fitness equipment during your exercises. All items are yours to keep if you complete the study.

If you, your parents, or your doctor ever feel that the study is not right for you, you can always leave at any time and without consequences. Participating or not participating in this study will not have any impact on the clinical care that you receive at Children's Health.



What would I get for participating?

Taking part in this study will get you access to a lifestyle intervention program to assist you in getting ready for bariatric surgery and help you achieve and maintain success afterwards. The video content was developed in coordination with the weight wellness clinicians at Children's Health. You will also be able to connect with other teens who are having bariatric surgery, ask questions, and hear about what successes and difficulties they have faced before and after surgery.


Additionally, you may be eligible to receive up to $75, provided as three gift cards at different times during the study for your participation. The first gift card of $20 after the 6-week phone interview, the second gift card of $25 after the 3-month survey, and the final gift card of $30 after the 6-month survey and phone interview.


To help you succeed with losing weight and staying healthy, you may also receive the following items:

Before Surgery

TeenLYFT Water Bottle Front

TeenLYFT water bottle*








After Surgery

TeenLYFT Fitbit Charge 5

Fitbit Charge 5
fitness tracker*

TeenLYFT Garmin Index S2 Smart Scale

Garmin Index S2
smart scale*








TeenLYFT Resistance Bands

Workout resistance bands
(Set of 5)*

TeenLYFT Workout Weights

Workout dumbbells
(Set of 6)*








* Limited quantities available
 Limited number of participants will be selected to take part in post-surgery portion


How do I enroll in the study?

If you meet the eligibility requirements, click below to enroll.


Remember that parental or guardian approval is required for participants who are minors.


TeenLYFT Workout


TeenLYFT Facebook group


How do I access TeenLYFT content?

Once you have enrolled, make sure you request to join our private Facebook group and YouTube channel. Here you will get access to TeenLYFT content, ask questions and receive answers from doctors, connect with other teens in the study, and be part of a community dedicated to your success.

facebook.com/groups/teenlyft YouTube https://instagram.com/teenlyft


Who is directing this study?

TeenLYFT is supervised by leading experts in weight management, health and nutrition, and pediatric psychology from UTHealth Houston, UT Southwestern, and Children's Health.


Study investigators include:




Dr. Sarah E. Messiah discusses adolescent bariatric surgery on NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt.

Source: NBC News


How do I contact the study team if I have questions?

You can contact us by email at [email protected].


This research study has been approved by UTHealth Houston Committee for Protection of Human Subjects (IRB# HSC-SPH-19-0406) and UT Southwestern Human Research Protection Program.



TeenLYFT Contact