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Am J Clin Nutr. 2005 Jul;82(1 Suppl):230S-235S.

Behavioral treatment of obesity.

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  • 1University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, Philadelphia, PA, USA.


Behavioral treatment is an approach used to help individuals develop a set of skills to achieve a healthier weight. It is more than helping people to decide what to change; it is helping them identify how to change. The behavior change process is facilitated through the use of self-monitoring, goal setting, and problem solving. Studies suggest that behavioral treatment produces weight loss of 8-10% during the first 6 mo of treatment. Structured approaches such as meal replacements and food provision have been shown to increase the magnitude of weight loss. Most research on behavioral treatment has been conducted in university-based clinic programs. Although such studies are important, they tell us little about the effectiveness of these approaches in settings outside of specialized clinics. Future research might focus more on determining how these behavioral techniques can be best applied in a real-world setting.

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