Cookies on this website

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Accept all cookies' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. If you click 'Reject all non-essential cookies' only necessary cookies providing core functionality such as security, network management, and accessibility will be enabled. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

It is remarkably difficult for people with obesity to maintain a new lower weight following weight loss. The aim of the present study was to examine the immediate and longer-term effects of a new cognitive behavioural treatment that was explicitly designed to minimise this post-treatment weight regain. One hundred and fifty female participants with obesity were randomized to the new treatment, behaviour therapy (the leading alternative psychological treatment) or guided self-help (a minimal intervention). Both of the main treatments resulted in an average weight loss of about ten percent of initial weight whereas weight loss was more modest with guided self-help. The participants were subsequently followed-up for three years post-treatment. The great majority regained almost all the weight that they had lost with the new treatment being no better than the behavioural treatment in preventing weight regain. These findings lend further support to the notion that obesity is resistant to psychological methods of treatment, if anything other than a short-term perspective is taken. It is suggested that it is ethically questionable to claim that psychological treatments for obesity "work" in the absence of data on their longer-term effects.

Original publication




Journal article


Behav Res Ther

Publication Date





706 - 713


Adult, Behavior Therapy, Body Weight, Bulimia, Cognitive Therapy, Female, Humans, Middle Aged, Obesity, Quality of Life, Treatment Failure