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Obesity in adults: Behavioral therapy

George A Bray, MD
Leigh Perreault, MD
Section Editor
F Xavier Pi-Sunyer, MD, MPH
Deputy Editor
Daniel J Sullivan, MD, MPH


The recommended initial management of overweight and obesity is a lifestyle intervention that is a combination of diet, exercise, and behavioral modification. This combination can produce weight losses of 5 to 10 percent below baseline weight. Some patients eventually require the addition of pharmacologic therapy or bariatric/metabolic surgery to achieve or maintain weight loss.

The goal of behavioral therapy is to help patients make long-term changes through the modification and monitoring of both their eating behavior and physical activity level. This is largely achieved by controlling cues and stimuli in the environment that trigger eating or sedentary behavior [1]. The use of behavioral strategies to treat obesity in adults is reviewed here. Other therapies for obesity, including drug therapy, specific diets, exercise, and surgery are reviewed separately. Issues of obesity in children, adolescents, and pregnant women are also reviewed separately.

(See "Obesity in adults: Overview of management".)

(See "Obesity in adults: Role of physical activity and exercise".)

(See "Obesity in adults: Dietary therapy".)

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Literature review current through: Oct 2017. | This topic last updated: May 10, 2017.
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