Question: For people diagnosed as overweight, obese or having a binge eating disorder, are psychological interventions more effective than standard weight loss interventions (including primary care), in improving patient outcomes?


Evidence from three systematic reviews and two trials showed mixed results regarding the effectiveness of psychological interventions for overweight, obese or binge-eating people. There was moderate evidence that motivational interviewing can improve weight loss, but a trial of group CBT plus standard care compared to standard care alone found no benefit for group CBT in terms of achieving weight loss targets.

 For reducing binge or emotional eating there was a small amount of evidence supporting mindfulness-based interventions, and a larger amount of evidence supporting psychotherapy, structured self-help and pharmacotherapy although this came from a less reliable review.

 These findings are in line with the NICE and Scottish guidelines and do provide some support for psychological interventions in reducing weight loss and binge eating.

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