6 Understanding and Managing Obesity

Health Psychology


  1. Joyce A. Corsica PhD1,
  2. Michael G. Perri PhD, ABPP2

Published Online: 26 SEP 2012

DOI: 10.1002/9781118133880.hop209006

Handbook of Psychology, Second Edition

Handbook of Psychology, Second Edition

How to Cite

Corsica, J. A. and Perri, M. G. 2012. Understanding and Managing Obesity. Handbook of Psychology, Second Edition. 9:III:6.

Author Information

  1. 1

    Rush University Medical Center, Department of Behavioral Sciences, Chicago, Illinois, USA

  2. 2

    University of Florida College of Public Health and Health Professions, Department of Clinical and Health Psychology, Gainesville, Florida, USA

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 26 SEP 2012


In this chapter, we provide a review of research related to understanding and managing obesity. Beginning with the assessment and classification of obesity, we next describe the epidemiology of body weight in the United States. We summarize the physical, psychosocial, and economic consequences associated with excess body weight, and we examine prominent biological and environmental contributors to obesity. Next we describe current treatments of obesity, including behavioral (lifestyle) interventions, pharmacotherapy, and bariatric surgery. We give special attention to what may be the most problematic aspect of obesity treatment, the maintenance of lost weight. We conclude our review by discussing recommendations for the management and prevention of obesity, which we argue is one of the most pressing public health problems today.


  • obesity treatment;
  • weight management;
  • weight loss maintenance