Weight bias and weight loss treatment outcomes in treatment-seeking adults

Ann Behav Med. 2009 Jun;37(3):350-5. doi: 10.1007/s12160-009-9109-4. Epub 2009 Jun 23.


Background: Few studies have explored the relationship between weight bias and weight loss treatment outcomes.

Purpose: This investigation examined the relationship between implicit and explicit weight bias and (a) program attrition, (b) weight loss, (c) self-monitoring adherence, (d) daily exercise levels and overall caloric expenditure, (e) daily caloric intake, and (f) daily caloric deficit among overweight/obese treatment-seeking adults.

Methods: Forty-six overweight/obese adults (body mass index > or = 27 kg/m(2)) participating in an 18-week, stepped-care, behavioral weight loss program completed implicit and explicit measures of weight bias. Participants were instructed to self-monitor and electronically report daily energy intake, exercise, and energy expenditure.

Results: Greater weight bias was associated with inconsistent self-monitoring, greater caloric intake, lower energy expenditure and exercise, creation of a smaller caloric deficit, higher program attrition, as well as less weight loss during the self-help phase of the stepped-care treatment.

Conclusions: Weight bias may interfere with overweight/obese treatment-seeking adults' ability to achieve optimal health.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Behavior Therapy / methods
  • Energy Intake
  • Energy Metabolism
  • Exercise
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Obesity / psychology
  • Obesity / therapy
  • Overweight / psychology
  • Overweight / therapy
  • Patient Compliance / psychology*
  • Patient Dropouts / psychology*
  • Prejudice*
  • Treatment Outcome*
  • Weight Loss*