Behavioral Therapy and Weight Loss

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In a study recently concluded, it was found out that with or without the help of weight loss supplements, obese adults may shave some weight off their body with the help of diet, exercise and other behavioral modifications.

In this latest review which included about 58 clinical trials, the researchers found out that through behavioral programs for weight loss, obese people tend to lose an average of    7 pounds additional in a period of 12 to 18 months against those people who did not receive a behavioral therapy—who lost little to no weight at all.

According to Dr. Erin Leblanc of the Center for Health Research at Kaiser Permanente, the more intensive the program, the better the outcome. On an average, 9 to 15 pounds were lost by those people who have been engaged with 12 to 26 sessions of comprehensive weight loss program. The comprehensive program involved a wide range of tactics like exercise sessions, overcoming distractions in terms of weight loss, and goal setting.

It is estimated that about one third of all adults in the US are obese, but losing those unhealthy pounds is a very difficult task. During the clinical trials, people who have been engaged in behavioral therapies plus a weight loss supplement (Xenical), obese people lost an average of 11 to 22 pounds, against 7 to 13 pounds which was the average weight loss of those engaged in behavioral therapy alone. According to Leblanc, “the take-home message is that behavioral interventions do work for weight loss. And if you attend sessions more often, you lose more weight.”

In terms of the additional weight loss brought about by medical supplements, these have to be considered against the risks they give like gas and uncontrolled bowel movements, as well as liver, pancreas and kidney damage which have been linked to the disease. On the other hand, significant questions have to be answered in terms of the long term benefits of weight loss with behavioral therapy as to whether or not it prevents major cardiovascular diseases or prolongs life.

In terms of screening obesity, the research group has not found any trials that have been designed to ascertain the benefits and the risks. According to LeBlanc, comprehensive weight loss programs “would be difficult to do in the primary care setting. The question is, how do you make these widely available to people?”

According to the World Health Organization, overweight and obesity are defined as abnormal or excessive fat accumulation that presents a risk to health. A crude population measure of obesity is the body mass index (BMI), a person’s weight (in kilograms) divided by the square of his or her height (in metres). A person with a BMI of 30 or more is generally considered obese. A person with a BMI equal to or more than 25 is considered overweight.

Overweight and obesity are major risk factors for a number of chronic diseases, including diabetes, cardiovascular diseases and cancer. Once considered a problem only in high income countries, overweight and obesity are now dramatically on the rise in low- and middle-income countries, particularly in urban settings.

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  2. [...] TherapyDoctors LoungeBehavioral Weight Loss Programs Help Obese Adults Lose WeightOzarksFirst.comHeal Blog (blog) -Los Angeles Timesall 35 news [...]

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