Personalized group cognitive behavioural therapy for obesity: a longitudinal study in a real-world clinical setting

  • Riccardo Dalle GraveEmail author
  • Simona Calugi
  • Giovanna Bosco
  • Luigi Valerio
  • Chiara Valenti
  • Marwan El Ghoch
  • Dante Zini
Original Article



Severe obesity is difficult to treat, and non-surgical treatment is not supported by robust evidence. The aim of the present study was to establish the immediate and longer-term outcomes following “personalized” form of group cognitive behavioural therapy for obesity (CBT-OB)—a new treatment designed to address specific cognitive processes that have been associated with attrition, weight loss, and weight maintenance in previous studies.


Sixty-seven adult patients with obesity (body mass index (BMI) ≥ 30 kg/m2) were recruited from consecutive referrals to an Italian National Health Service obesity clinic. Each patient was offered 22 group sessions of CBT-OB (14 in the 6-month weight-loss phase and 8 in the subsequent 12-month weight-maintenance phase).


76.2% patients completed the treatment, with an average weight loss of 11.5% after 6 months (10% in the intention-to-treat analysis) and 9.9% (7.5% in the intention-to-treat analysis) after 18 months. Weight loss was associated with a significant reduction in cardiovascular risk factors, anxiety, depression, and eating disorder psychopathology, and an improvement in obesity-related quality of life.


These findings provide strong preliminary support for the use of CBT-OB for obesity in standard clinical settings, and justify its further evaluation in randomized controlled trials.

Level of evidence

Level III, longitudinal cohort study.


Obesity Lifestyle modification Cognitive behavioural therapy Group therapy Weight loss Weight maintenance Attrition 


Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

Hereby authors state that they have no conflict of interest to declare.

Ethical approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Informed consent

Informed consent was obtained from all those who participated in the study.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Eating and Weight DisordersVilla Garda HospitalGardaItaly
  2. 2.Graduate School in NutritionUniversity of Modena and Reggio EmiliaModenaItaly
  3. 3.Unit of Medicine, Obesity and Eating DisordersAzienda Ospedaliero-Universitaria of ModenaModenaItaly

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