Obesity is linked to the development of chronic health conditions such as diabetes, hypertension, and atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease (ASCVD) at an annual expense of $147 billion in related healthcare costs. Effective lifestyle modification treatment for long-term WLM remains elusive. Traditional advice from primary care providers regarding dietary modification and increased physical activity has not led to WLM as a long-term outcome. Newer guidelines for the treatment of obesity now recommend high-intensity behavior-based counseling (BBC) programs that deliver traditional weight loss education in tandem with behavior-change strategies. Methods: A database search was conducted for peer reviewed literature published in 2012-2020 on the subjects of WLM and behavior-based therapies. The use of pharmacotherapeutics and bariatric surgery modalities were considered beyond the scope of this review. Findings: When duplicate results were removed, 42 articles met inclusion criteria of which 26 were selected for in-depth review. Conclusion: BBC is superior for WLM compared to dietary counseling in terms of the facilitation of a 5%-10% clinically significant weight loss that is maintained for at least one year. Treatment of obesity in primary care should consist of the identification and diagnosis of obesity, referral to intensive BBC services, and ongoing support of patients’ weight loss efforts over the long term.


Rhonda Cornell

Committee Member

Gwen Verchota

Date of Degree




Document Type



Master of Science in Nursing (MSN)


School of Nursing


Allied Health and Nursing



Rights Statement

In Copyright