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This article provides an overview of research regarding adult behavioral lifestyle intervention for obesity treatment. We first describe two trials using a behavioral lifestyle intervention to induce weight loss in adults, the Diabetes Prevention Program (DPP) and the Look AHEAD (Action for Health in Diabetes) trial. We then review the three main components of a behavioral lifestyle intervention program: behavior therapy, an energy- and fat-restricted diet, and a moderate- to vigorous-intensity physical activity prescription. Research regarding the influence of dietary prescriptions focusing on macronutrient composition, meal replacements, and more novel dietary approaches (such as reducing dietary variety and energy density) on weight loss is examined. Methods to assist with meeting physical activity goals, such as shortening exercise bouts, using a pedometer, and having access to exercise equipment within the home, are reviewed. To assist with improving weight loss outcomes, broadening activity goals to include resistance training and a reduction in sedentary behavior are considered. To increase the accessibility of behavioral lifestyle interventions to treat obesity in the broader population, translation of efficacious interventions such as the DPP, must be undertaken. Translational studies have successfully altered the DPP to reduce treatment intensity and/or used alternative modalities to implement the DPP in primary care, worksite, and church settings; several examples are provided. The use of new methodologies or technologies that provide individualized treatment and real-time feedback, and which may further enhance weight loss in behavioral lifestyle interventions, is also discussed.
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