Date of Award:


Document Type:


Degree Name:

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)




Michael Bertoch


Forty-five obese female volunteers were randomly assigned to one of six experimental groups required to consume their daily food intake according to the following feeding frequencies: (a) three isocaloric meals, (b) six isocaloric meals, (c) three isocaloric vii meals, (d) three meals in the proportion of 1/4:1/4:2/4, (e) six isocaloric meals, and (f) ad libitum (i.e., eight or more isocaloric meals). Members of the first two groups received dietary, nutritional, and exercise management information, while women in the remaining groups received instruction in behavioral control procedures in addition to the aforementioned educative treatment.

Experimental manipulations failed to produce a statistically significant difference in mean weight loss between treatment groups; however, there was a significant negative correlation (r = -.41, p<.01) between reported mean daily caloric intake and pounds lost at treatment and a significant positive correlation (r = .38, p< .01) between education in years and pounds lost at treatment. More frequent feeding and behavioral control instructions were associated with greater mean weight loss at 12-week treatment and 6-month follow-up. Results indicate that for most obese individuals a dietary regimen of five or more minimeals daily may enhance weight reduction and maintenance in treatment programs conducted in the natural environment. Instruction in behavioral control procedures produced substantial intersubject variability in response, yet appeared to facilitate weight loss in most participants. Reduced caloric consumption appeared to be a necessary although not sufficient component of treatment. Methodological considerations and implications for future research were discussed.



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