The prevalence of overweight and obesity continues to gradually increase each year with worldwide obesity recorded to be more than double since 1980. Despite the significance placed on lifestyle interventions for obesity management, most weight loss is followed by weight regain. In fact, people who have lost weight on lifestyle programmes, regain approximately 40% of the weight they lose in the first year after losing it and much of the rest in the following three years. Recently, psychological concepts of habitual behaviour and automaticity have been suggested as plausible explanations for this overwhelming lack of long-term weight loss success. Consequently, habit-based interventions are becoming a novel and emerging strategy to help reduce excess weight in individuals with overweight or obesity. This thesis aimed to determine the efficacy of habit-based interventions for weight loss and weight loss maintenance in adults with overweight or obesity. The results of these studies highlight that habit-based weight loss programs are more effective at achieving clinically beneficial weight loss than lifestyle advice, non-habit based programs and waitlist groups in the short-term but these effects are not sustained when active weight loss programs are compared with habit-based programs over the long-term. Longer studies that are powered to examine at least a 12-month follow-up are required to evaluate weight loss maintenance. Habit-based programs are however practical and convenient for individuals to implement and offer a refreshing alternative to diet and exercise advice. Therefore, habit-based weight loss interventions offer health professionals and clinicians a useful tool for incorporating evidence-based health promotion with individuals desiring sustained benefits.

Year Manuscript Completed



Community Health | Health Psychology


Habit change; habit-based interventions; obesity; overweight; weight loss maintenance; weight management; automaticity; behavioural flexibility; habits.

Primary Language of Manuscript


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