Obesity treatment: the high cost of false hope

J Am Diet Assoc. 1991 Oct;91(10):1248-51.


Although millions seek treatments for obesity, the benefits of treatment have been overstated. For most people, treatment is not effective; the majority of the obese struggle in vain to lose weight and blame themselves for relapses. Repeated experiences of failure add to the psychologic burden caused by the social stigma and the presumption of psychopathologic conditions attached to obesity. Many therapists may be contributing to this psychologic damage by giving their patients false hope for success and by failing to recognize that seeking treatment for obesity may be triggered by psychologic problems that are not addressed in obesity treatment.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Obesity / psychology
  • Obesity / therapy*
  • Recurrence
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Weight Loss