Behavioral approaches to the problems of obesity

Myles S. Faith, Kevin R. Fontaine, Lawrence J Cheskin, David B. Allison

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


Obesity is a complex and increasingly prevalent disorder that can confer a number of medical, social, and psychological difficulties. As a result, an army of treatment strategies falling under the generic umbrella of 'behavior therapy' have been developed and continue to be refined and expanded. In this article, different behavioral approaches to the problems of obesity are outlined and reviewed, specifically, those that target (a) body weight or composition, (b) lifestyle factors and other health-related variables, and (c) related psychological variables such as self-esteem and assertiveness, as well as negative attitudes toward obese persons held by nonobese individuals. For each of these targets of change, approaches to both individual- and group-level interventions are considered. Suggestions for future research and clinical work are offered. Throughout, the importance of conceptualizing obesity as a multifaceted problem is underscored. The necessity for explicit target goals when attempting to modify behavior is also highlighted.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)459-493
Number of pages35
JournalBehavior Modification
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2000

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology(all)
  • Clinical Psychology


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