Intensive Lifestyle Intervention for Obesity: Principles, Practices, and Results

Gastroenterology. 2017 May;152(7):1752-1764. doi: 10.1053/j.gastro.2017.01.045. Epub 2017 Feb 10.


Using the Guidelines for the Management of Overweight and Obesity in Adults as a framework, this article reviews intensive lifestyle interventions for weight loss. The Guidelines recommend a minimum of 6 months of high-intensity, comprehensive lifestyle intervention, consisting of a reduced-calorie diet, increased physical activity, and behavior therapy. Persons with obesity typically lose approximately 8 kg (approximately 8% of initial weight) with this approach, accompanied by improvements in health and quality of life. To prevent weight regain, the Guidelines recommend a 1-year weight loss maintenance program that includes at least monthly counseling with a trained interventionist. Lifestyle interventions usually are delivered in-person; however, treatment increasingly is being disseminated through community- and commercial-based programs, as well as delivered by telephone, Internet, and smartphone platforms. These latter modalities expand treatment reach but usually produce smaller weight losses than in-person interventions. The review concludes with an examination of challenges in weight management.

Keywords: Behavioral Treatment; Lifestyle Intervention; Obesity; Weight Loss.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Behavior Therapy*
  • Body Weight Maintenance
  • Caloric Restriction*
  • Delivery of Health Care / methods*
  • Diet
  • Directive Counseling
  • Exercise Therapy*
  • Humans
  • Internet
  • Life Style*
  • Mobile Applications
  • Obesity / therapy*
  • Telephone
  • Weight Reduction Programs