Behavioral interventions for obesity

J Am Diet Assoc. 2005 May;105(5 Suppl 1):S35-43. doi: 10.1016/j.jada.2005.02.031.


Because of the increased risk of comorbid conditions such as type 2 diabetes, hypertension, and osteoarthritis, and the high health care costs associated with obesity, researchers and clinicians continually search for low-cost and effective treatments for weight loss and weight maintenance. In this article we provide an overview of the principles of behavior modification as applied to the treatment of obesity, examine the benefits of augmenting behavioral interventions with pharmacotherapy, and review the use of less-traditional applications of behavior modification in the treatment of obesity, specifically Internet interventions, meal replacements, and telephone interventions. Based on our review, we conclude that these less-traditional approaches can be used effectively to apply the principles of behavior modification, specifically stimulus control and self-monitoring, to obese patients. Future directions for research are outlined, which include examining the use of nontraditional behavioral interventions with children and the development of culturally sensitive interventions for racial and ethnic minority populations.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Anti-Obesity Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Behavior Therapy / methods*
  • Caloric Restriction / methods*
  • Combined Modality Therapy
  • Food, Formulated
  • Humans
  • Internet
  • Obesity / diet therapy
  • Obesity / drug therapy
  • Obesity / therapy*
  • Physical Fitness / physiology
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Anti-Obesity Agents