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Now We Know the Most Effective Behavioral Interventions for Obesity

Draft Recommendations Issued by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force

On February 20. 2018, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) issued draft recommendations for behavioral weight loss interventions for adults with a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or higher. Based on review of the evidence, the Task Force recommended offering intensive, multicomponent behavioral programs to adults with obesity. More than 30 percent of adults in the United States are considered obese. Several chronic and life-threating health issues are associated with obesity, including cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes and various types of cancer.

Multicomponent Behavioral Programs Have the Best Success

Intensive behavioral programs that include a variety of activities are successful in helping people manage their weight, the Task Force found. These programs take more time than a single conversation with a health care professional. Common components of these programs include use of group sessions (at least 12 sessions or more in the first year), helping people make healthy eating choices, encouraging increased physical activity, and helping people monitor their own weight.

“Of the programs we examined, those that combined multiple activities and included group sessions had the strongest effect,” says Task Force member Chyke A. Doubeni, M.D., M.P.H. “Evidence shows that people regain less weight with these types of programs.”

The Healthstat Approach Meets Patient Needs

“We applaud the new recommendations from the Task Force, and concur with its findings,” said Jordan Justus, Director of Wellness at Healthstat. “We continue to focus on putting together all the elements for achieving a healthy weight, anchored by the services offered in our clinics.”

“We conduct our weight management programs in a healthful way, utilizing the multicomponent behavioral interventions mentioned in the USPSTF recommendation,” she explains. “Our programs are designed to promote healthy, sustainable weight loss by focusing directly on behavior modifications that lead to meaningful reductions in body weight. We help our patients understand the concept of calorie balance through proper nutrition and physical activity, by placing an emphasis on stress management, and by helping patients learn how to overcome barriers. We give support and provide education and coaching to our patients in both the group and one-on-one setting. From simply learning how to read food labels to incorporating more physical activity into the daily routine, teaching stress management techniques or using technology like fitness trackers and apps, our programs are personalized and designed to meet the individual where they are in their readiness to change behavior. And at the center of it all, alongside each patient, is a clinician or health coach trained to inspire healthy change. We believe in the shared success of clinicians and health coaches helping patients become healthier and more active.”

Task Force Recommendations and Public Comment

The Task Force’s draft recommendation statement and draft evidence review have been posted for public comment on the Task Force Web site at Comments can be submitted from February 20, 2018 to March 19, 2018 at

The Task Force is an independent, volunteer panel of national experts in prevention and evidence-based medicine that works to improve the health of all Americans by making evidence-based recommendations about clinical preventive services such as screenings, counseling services, and preventive medications.

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