Combined Treatment for Obesity and Depression: A Pilot Study.

Journal Article (Journal Article)


Obesity and depression frequently co-occur, and each increases risk for cardiovascular disease (CVD). This study tested whether a combined treatment, targeting obesity and depression simultaneously, would yield greater improvements in weight, mood, and CVD risk factors than treatments that targeted each disease individually.


Seventy-six participants with obesity and major depression were randomly assigned to (1) behavioral weight control (BWC), (2) cognitive behavioral therapy for depression (CBT-D), or (3) BWC combined with CBT-D. Participants were provided 18 group treatment sessions over 20 weeks. Mood, weight, and CVD risk were assessed at baseline and weeks 8 and 20, with a follow-up visit at week 46.


At week 20, participants in combined treatment lost significantly (P < 0.02) more weight (5.2% ± 1.2%) than those assigned to CBT-D (0.8% ± 1.3%) and comparable amounts as those in BWC (3.5% ± 1.3%). Depression scores decreased significantly from baseline levels in each group, with no significant differences between groups. All three groups showed significant improvements in 10-year CVD risk, with no significant differences between groups. Groups did not differ significantly on any of these measures at week 46.


BWC yielded short-term improvements in weight, mood, and CVD risk, comparable to a combined treatment that incorporated CBT-D. Results require replication with a larger sample size.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Faulconbridge, LF; Driscoll, CFB; Hopkins, CM; Bailer Benforado, B; Bishop-Gilyard, C; Carvajal, R; Berkowitz, RI; DeRubeis, R; Wadden, TA

Published Date

  • July 2018

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 26 / 7

Start / End Page

  • 1144 - 1152

PubMed ID

  • 29932516

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1930-739X

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 1930-7381

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1002/oby.22209


  • eng