Cognitive-behavioural treatment for weight loss in primary care: a prospective study

Swiss Med Wkly. 2007 Sep 8;137(35-36):489-95.


Questions under study: Cognitive-behavioural treatment (CBT) is effective for weight loss in obese patients, but such programmes are difficult to implement in primary care. We assessed whether implementation of a community-based CBT weight loss programme for adults in routine care is feasible and prospectively assessed patient outcome.

Patients and methods: The weight loss programme was provided by a network of Swiss general practitioners in cooperation with a community centre for health education. We chose a five-step strategy focusing on structure of care rather than primarily addressing individual physician behaviour. A multidisciplinary core group of trained CBT instructors acted as the central element of the programme. Overweight and obese adults from the community (BMI >25 kg/m2) were included. We used a patient perspective to report the impact on delivery of care and assessed weight change of consecutive participants prospectively with a follow-up of 12 months.

Results: Twenty-eight courses, with 16 group meetings each, were initiated over a period of 3 years. 44 of 110 network physicians referred patients to the programme. 147 of 191 study participants were monitored for one year (attrition rate: 23%). Median weight loss after 12 months for 147 completers was 4 kg (IQR: 1-7 kg; intention-to-treat analysis for 191 participants: 2 kg, IQR: 0-5 kg).

Conclusions: The programme produced a clinically meaningful weight loss in our participants, with a relatively low attrition rate. Implementation of an easily accessible CBT programme for weight loss in daily routine primary care is feasible.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Obesity / therapy*
  • Overweight*
  • Patient Care Team
  • Primary Health Care / organization & administration*
  • Program Evaluation*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Quality of Health Care*
  • Switzerland
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Weight Loss*