Date of Award:


Document Type:


Degree Name:

Master of Science (MS)


Nutrition, Dietetics, and Food Sciences

Department name when degree awarded

Nutrition and Food Sciences

Committee Chair(s)

Tamara Vitale


Tamara Vitale


Kim McMahon


Nedra Christensen


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 the Stages-of-Change Model explains an individual's readiness to change and the process involved, self-efficacy and self-regulating behaviors were shown to have a more positive effect on long-term maintenance. Thus, recommendations for practical application include incorporating these behavioral components for a more effective and client-centered intervention program.