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J Am Diet Assoc. 1993 Oct;93(10):1152-6; quiz 1157-8.

Enhancing social support in weight loss management groups.

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Department of Human and Family Resources, Northern Illinois University, DeKalb 60115-2854.


This review draws on the literature in nutrition and dietetics and in the behavioral sciences to explore the association of social support and weight management and to identify effective means of enhancing support. Social support, the resources provided by other people, has been demonstrated to correlate directly with weight loss maintenance. Programs have attempted to increase the level of support experienced by clients by teaching them to elicit support through activities such as self-exploration, modeling, and skill-building exercises. Another approach, teaching significant others how to be more supportive, is limited by the willingness of the others to become involved. Most commonly, weight management programs rely on the group itself to provide support. The effectiveness of group support, however, has not been evaluated apart from other aspects of a program. Most efforts to enhance social support are hampered by lack of knowledge about what types of support are most effective, failure to monitor perceived levels of support, and the brevity of the program. Nevertheless, the potential value and minimal risk of improved social support justify continued attention to this aspect of weight management programs.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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