Journal of Clinical Psychology in Medical Settings

, Volume 15, Issue 3, pp 214–224

Obesity in America: Implications for Clinical and Health Psychologists

  • Melanie K. Bean
  • Karen Stewart
  • Mary Ellen Olbrisch

DOI: 10.1007/s10880-008-9124-9

Cite this article as:
Bean, M.K., Stewart, K. & Olbrisch, M.E. J Clin Psychol Med Settings (2008) 15: 214. doi:10.1007/s10880-008-9124-9


The number of individuals classified as overweight and obese is increasing at alarming rates and these conditions are associated with numerous psychological and physiological health problems. Within this epidemic, there is an increasing need and demand for psychologists and other mental health professionals to participate in the care of patients with obesity, both in assessment and treatment domains. The current paper provides a review of the status of the obesity epidemic, including psychological comorbidities and treatment approaches. Throughout this review, we highlight and discuss the important roles and impact psychologists can have. These roles include serving as members of multidisciplinary obesity treatment programs, conducting assessments for bariatric surgery, and treating related psychiatric disorders, such as depression and disordered eating. Other considerations, such as weight gain associated with psychiatric medications, and directions for future involvement of psychologists in addressing the obesity epidemic are also discussed.


ObesityPsychologyTreatmentMental health

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Melanie K. Bean
    • 1
  • Karen Stewart
    • 2
  • Mary Ellen Olbrisch
    • 1
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of PsychiatryVirginia Commonwealth UniversityRichmondUSA
  2. 2.Department of PsychologyVirginia Commonwealth UniversityRichmondUSA
  3. 3.Department of SurgeryVirginia Commonwealth UniversityRichmondUSA