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Dr Marc-Andre Cornier on the Importance of Behavioral Interventions for Weight Loss


Marc-Andre Cornier, MD, professor and director of the Division of Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolic Diseases at the Medical University of South Carolina, outlines the necessary components for a successful weight loss program.

Behavioral support is crucial when it comes to weight loss program adherence, said Marc-Andre Cornier, MD, endocrinologist, professor, and director of the Division of Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolic Diseases at the Medical University of South Carolina.


How does your recent research speak to the importance of behavioral interventions and group support when it comes to weight loss?

What these findings show is that if you adhere to a weight loss program, you're more likely to lose weight. And we find that in a virtual setting, people are more likely to adhere because they don't have to drive across town to get to the program. It's easier just to turn your computer or your phone on and join the class. So it really does emphasize the importance of adherence. And study after study after study in weight loss has shown that the more contacts with the intervention, whether it's people, whether it's online, the more contacts, the more weight loss. And so when you have it on a virtual program it makes it easier.

But it really does also emphasize the importance of the behavioral program in general. And if you don't adhere to the behavioral program, you don't go to the sessions, you're not going to lose as much weight. So it's a critical piece to weight loss, to lifestyle interventions, because you can tell somebody to cut their calories or reduce their carbs or whatever intervention you decide is best for that patient, but if there's no behavioral support behind that, it's very difficult for people to do that.

So I think in the ideal world, a weight loss program includes reduced calories, that has to happen; you can't lose weight without reducing calories. There needs to be an exercise component to it. But all that has to be supported with a behavioral modification, some type of intervention that helps you change your behaviors to be able to adhere to those lifestyle changes.

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