Date of Award:


Document Type:


Degree Name:

Master of Science (MS)


Nutrition, Dietetics, and Food Sciences


Tamara Vitale


This literature review was a selective examination of current obesity and physical activity research and opinions. Its purpose was more to evoke thought and discussion regarding the United States' obesity epidemic, rather than serve as an exhaustive account of prospective causes and solutions. Obesity and physical inactivity are major preventable health problems in the United States, but despite overwhelming evidence regarding the benefits of a healthy weight and regular physical activity, adult, childhood and adolescent obesity rates continue to escalate, creating significant health, medical and economic consequences.

While obesity rates soar, a small population percentage has proven successful in long-term weight maintenance, even in the presence of significantly influential environmental and interpersonal factors. Reviewing strategies employed by National Weight Control Registry members, this literature review discusses the two behavioral components missing from standard or traditional, action-oriented intervention programs.

Although th e Stages-of-Change Model ex plains an indi vidual"s readiness to change and the process in vo lved, se lf-effi cacy and self-regulating behav iors were shown to have a more positi ve effect on long-term maintenance. Thus, recommendati ons for practical appli cation include incorporating these behavioral components for a more effecti ve and client-centered interventi on program.