Limitations of behavioral treatment of obesity: Review and analysis

John P. Foreyt, G. Ken Goodrick, Antonio Gotto

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

78 Scopus citations


Over 200 articles have been published describing behavior modification programs for weight reduction. The authors reviewed the group studies that reported weight data at least 1 year posttreatment. Evaluating these studies, they concluded that although changes in weight do occur, these changes are almost always clinically small, variability among patients is large, and further weight losses do not occur following the end of formal treatment. The weight lost during treatment may be explained by changes in specific eating behaviors caused by therapist contact rather than the effect of self-applied behavioral techniques on eating. Support for the effectiveness of each of the specific techniques to produce lasting weight loss or behavioral change was also lacking. Suggestions for future research in this area are given.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)159-174
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Behavioral Medicine
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 1 1981


  • behavioral treatment
  • obesity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology(all)
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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