New approach to weight loss shows benefits over conventional methods

28 September 2016

A new approach to weight loss has been shown to help people lose more weight and keep it off longer than those receiving standard treatment in a new study.

Led by Drexel University, the research evaluated the benefits of acceptance-based behavioural treatment (ABT), a method that assigns a larger personal value to patients' efforts beyond the goal of weight loss for its own sake.

It encourages patients to select objectives such as living a long and healthy life or being a better grandparent, while recognising that weight-control behaviours will produce discomfort and reduced pleasure. The method also emphasises awareness of how certain cues impact eating and activity-related decision-making.

For this study, 190 overweight or obese participants were randomly assigned to receive ABT with standard behavioural treatment (SBT), which focuses solely on reduced caloric intake and increased physical activity.

Those who received ABT lost 13.3 per cent of their initial weight at one year, compared to 9.8 per cent for those given SBT only. In addition, the likelihood of maintaining a ten per cent weight loss at 12 months was one-third greater for ABT patients.

Study leader Evan Forman of the department of psychology at Drexel University said: "This is one of the first rigorous, randomised clinical trials to show that an alternative treatment results in greater weight loss than the gold standard traditional form of behavioural treatment."

Posted by Jeanette Royston


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