Purpose: An overview of the evidence that has been generated with overweight and obese children and adolescents utilizing the clinical therapeutic strategies that have been supported by Cognitive Behavior Theory will be discussed as they relate to the development of a healthy lifestyles cognitive behavioral skills intervention.
Methods: Cognitive Behavior Theory contends that an individual’s dysfunctional and often erroneous thoughts and beliefs negatively influence an individual’s emotions, which result in behaviors that are maladaptive and unhealthy. These distortions, negative schema and faulty information processes are a biased cognitive construction of an individual’s experiences. Cognitive Behavior Theory is based upon the original work of Beck in his work with depressed adult patients. In the last 40 years, the theory has been tested with a wide range of maladaptive behaviors and psychopathologies including anxiety, eating disorders and obesity, obsessive-compulsive disorder, panic disorder, anger, childhood somatic disorders, chronic pain and social phobia. A review of the literature will be presented.
Results: Empirical evidence supports the efficacy of Cognitive Behavior Theory and its therapeutic interventions and techniques in reducing anxiety and depressive symptomology and increasing adolescent’s beliefs and healthy lifestyle choices and behaviors following cognitive behavior skills building interventions.
Conclusion: Interventions for overweight and obese children and adolescents demonstrate behavior change when a cognitive behavior skills building intervention frames the nutritional and physical activity content.