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Behav Res Ther. 2010 Aug;48(8):717-9. doi: 10.1016/j.brat.2010.05.018.

The humbling experience of treating obesity: Should we persist or desist?

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  • 1Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity, Yale University, 309 Edwards Street, Box 208369, New Haven, CT 06520-8369, USA.


Obesity has humbled one research group after another. Some of the field's brightest scientists have attempted to subdue obesity by treating it, but now, after decades of work, treatment gains remain small, maintenance is poor, and the field produces effects far below what patients want or expect. This can be explained by strong biological and environmental forces that oppose weight loss and foster regain. Attempts to improve treatment must continue, but with recognition that treatment is a clinical measure and will not affect prevalence (because treatments are too expensive to be used broadly). Policy change and prevention will be necessary to improve public health.

Copyright 2010. Published by Elsevier Ltd.

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