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Obesity in adults: Behavioral therapy

George A Bray, MD
Section Editor
F Xavier Pi-Sunyer, MD, MPH
Deputy Editor
Kathryn A Martin, MD


The initial management of overweight and obesity is lifestyle intervention, a combination of diet, exercise, and behavioral modification. This combination can produce weight losses of 5 to 10 percent. Some patients eventually require the addition of pharmacologic therapy or bariatric surgery. The appropriate application of and indications for these additional measures remain in flux.

The goal of behavioral therapy is to help patients make long-term changes in their eating behavior by modifying and monitoring their food intake, modifying their physical activity, and controlling cues and stimuli in the environment that trigger eating. The use of behavioral strategies to treat obesity in adults is reviewed here. Other therapies for obesity, including drug therapy, specific diets, and specific exercise programs, are reviewed separately. Obesity in children and adolescents is 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: Sep 2016. | This topic last updated: Apr 27, 2015.
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