Weight reduction interventions for persons with a chronic illness: Findings and factors for consideration

G. D'Eramo-Melkus, J. A. Hagan

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Obesity in persons with a concomitant chronic illness poses complex issues relating to the choice of appropriate interventions. More recent emphasis on modification of risk factors has resulted in the need to prescribe complex therapeutic regimens with multiple treatment goals. The traditional approach to weight reduction in such persons has been nutrition education. Studies have shown, however, that knowledge alone does not translate into self-care behaviors that in turn result in weight loss and weight maintenance. Although the latter outcomes continue to be primary goals of therapy in obese individuals with a chronic illness, improvement in the physiologic parameters associated with the illness is also a desired outcome. Behavior therapy and group support appear to be enabling factors that go beyond knowledge to facilitate behavior change and subsequent changes in health-related indexes. This article describes various approaches to the problem of combined interventions for patient education and weight reduction. Findings and factors are discussed about whether the primary goal of weight reduction interventions for persons with a chronic illness should focus on pounds lost or improvement in metabolic or physiologic status.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1093-1096+1099
JournalJournal of the American Dietetic Association
Issue number9
StatePublished - 1991

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Food Science
  • Nutrition and Dietetics


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