Impact of Non-Diet Approaches on Attitudes, Behaviors, and Health Outcomes: A Systematic Review

Dawn Clifford, Amy Ozier, Joanna Bundros, Jeffrey Moore, Anna Kreiser, Michelle Neyman Morris

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

97 Scopus citations


Objective: To determine the overall effect of non-diet, weight-neutral interventions on factors such as weight, biochemical measures, food and activity behavior, body image, and mental health. Design: Systematic review of intervention literature. Setting: Group classes in community and worksite settings (14 studies), and individual counseling (1) and online education (1) in college settings. Participants: Eighteen research articles (representing 16 studies) evaluating non-diet interventions using quasi-experimental and randomized study designs with either a comparison or control group. Main Outcome Measures: Anthropometric, physiological, psychological, and dietary intake. Analysis: Systematic search of 168 articles and review of 18 articles meeting inclusionary criteria. Results: Non-diet interventions resulted in statistically significant improvements in disordered eating patterns, self-esteem, and depression. None of the interventions resulted in significant weight gain or worsening of blood pressure, blood glucose, or cholesterol, and in 2 studies biochemical measures improved significantly compared with the control or diet group. Primary limitations were inconsistent definitions of non-diet approaches and the use of different assessment instruments for measuring outcomes. Conclusions and Implications: Because of the long-term ineffectiveness of weight-focused interventions, the psychological improvements seen in weight-neutral, non-diet interventions warrant further investigation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)143-155.e1
JournalJournal of Nutrition Education and Behavior
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 1 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Body image
  • Eating disorders
  • Mental health
  • Non-diet
  • Overweight
  • Weight management

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Nutrition and Dietetics


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