Scientists develop a better behavioral treatment to help people lose weight

lose weight behavioral treatment

People with obesity often use behavioral intervention to treat the disorder. A standard intervention may include a healthy diet (1200-1800 calorie goal), daily physical activity, regular aerobic activity, self-monitoring of calorie intake, and social support.

Now researchers develop a better behavioral treatment for obesity: acceptance-based behavioral treatment. This new treatment can help people lose more body weight and maintain weight loss better. The finding is published in Obesity.

Researchers from Drexel University in Philadelphia, Neuropsychiatric Research Institute in Fargo, University of North Dakota and Brown University conducted the research.

They recruited 190 adults with overweight or obesity. Each participant completed 25 sessions of standard or acceptance-based behavioral treatment over 1 year.

Both types of treatment included a healthy diet, physical activity, aerobic activity, self-monitoring, relapse prevention, solutions of eating problems, and social support.

However, the acceptance-based treatment focused on mindful decision-making training, psychological acceptance of self, and willingness to experience the less pleasurable states.

Researchers measured the body weight of each participant at the beginning, 6 months, and/or 12 months of the treatment.

The result showed that participants who completed the acceptance-based treatment showed a greater 12-month weight loss (13% on average) than people in the standard treatment (9.8% on average).

In addition, 64% of people in the acceptance-based treatment maintained 10% weight loss at 12 months, whereas only 48.9% of people in the standard treatment achieved this goal.

Researchers suggest that acceptance-based treatment uses autonomous motivation and psychological acceptance of food-eating urges to help people lose weight.

It can improve self-regulation skills, increase commitment to valued behavior, and help people become mindfully aware during decision-making.

Citation: Forman, EM, et al. (2016). Acceptance-based versus standard behavioral treatment for obesity: Results from the mind your health randomized controlled trial. Obesity, 24: 2050-2056. doi:10.1002/oby.21601.
Figure legend: This image is for illustrative purposes only.