Behavioral Interventions for Obesity in Children and Adults: Evidence Base, Novel Approaches, and Translation Into Practice

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Abstract

Obesity in adults has nearly doubled in the past 30 years and has risen similarly in children and adolescents. Obesity affects all systems of the body, and the serious health consequences of obesity include an increased risk for cardiovascular disease, such as Type 2 diabetes or high blood pressure, which are occurring at ever younger ages. The present article introduces traditional behavioral weight loss strategies designed to change energy-balance behaviors (i.e., dietary and physical activity behaviors) and the contexts within which these interventions have typically been delivered. The applicability of findings from behavioral economics, cognitive processing, and clinical research that may lead to more potent weight loss and weight loss maintenance interventions are also considered. Given the pervasiveness of obesity, this article concludes with a discussion of efforts toward wider scale dissemination and implementation of behavioral treatments designed to address obesity and to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.

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