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Int J Womens Health. 2012;4:559-67. doi: 10.2147/IJWH.S35246. Epub 2012 Oct 12.

Brief cognitive-behavioral therapy for weight loss in midlife women: a controlled study with follow-up.

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Psychology and Health Research Unit, ISPA - Instituto Universitário, Lisbon, Portugal.



Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) has proven to be effective in weight reduction. This study explores whether individual, 8-session CBT can promote weight loss in midlife women.


Anthropometric (weight, abdominal perimeter, and body mass index calculation), psychological (health-related and sexual quality of life, stress, anxiety, and depression), and behavioral measures (binge eating disorder and restrained, external, and emotional eating) were assessed at baseline (T1), posttreatment (T2), and 4-month follow-up (T3), for a total of 21 women at baseline; the CBT group (n = 11) and the control group (n = 10; waiting list) were compared.


Statistically significant effects that were dependent on the intervention were observed on weight (F = 4.402; P = 0.035; η(p) (2) = 0.404; π = 0.652) and body mass index (F = 3.804; P = 0.050; η(p) (2) = 0.369; π = 0.585); furthermore, marginally significant effects were observed on external eating (F = 2.844; P = 0.095; η(p) (2) = 0.304; π = 0.461). At follow-up, women in the CBT group presented with lower weight, abdominal perimeter, body mass index, and external eating; higher health-related quality-of-life and restrained eating were also observed in this group. Most differences identified were at a marginally significant level. Moreover, at follow-up, none of the participants of the CBT group met the criteria for binge eating disorder, whereas the number of women with binge eating disorder in the control group remained the same through all three assessments.


An effective, though small, weight loss was achieved. Changes in quality of life were also observed. Moreover, changes in external eating behavior were successful.


cognitive-behavioral therapy; control group; follow-up; midlife; weight loss; women

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