Evaluating eating behavior treatments by FDA standards

A. Janet Tomiyama, Britt Ahlstrom, Traci L Mann

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Behavioral treatments for obesity are not evaluated by the same criteria as pharmaceutical drugs, even though treatments such as low-calorie dieting are widely prescribed, require patients' time and investment, and may have risks. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has a procedure for evaluating drugs, in which drugmakers must answer the following questions: (1) Is the treatment safe? (2) How dangerous is the condition the intervention is treating? (3) Is the treatment effective? (4) Is the treatment safe and effective for large numbers of people? We argue that using this framework to evaluate behavioral interventions could help identify unanswered research questions on their efficacy and effectiveness, and we use the example of low-calorie dieting to illustrate how FDA criteria might be applied in the context of behavioral medicine.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberArticle 1009
JournalFrontiers in Psychology
Issue numberJAN
StatePublished - 2014


  • Behavioral treatments
  • Dieting
  • Diets
  • Eating behavior
  • FDA
  • Interventions
  • Obesity
  • Weight


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