Background: (Extreme) obesity is a chronic harmful condition with high risk of medical comorbidities and negative social and emotional consequences. Bariatric surgery is an effective intervention for obesity, but approximately 20 to 30% of the patients experience adverse outcomes after surgery and there is a need for augmentation of current treatment strategies. This study examines the added value of pre-operative cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) focused on modification of thoughts and behaviors in terms of eating behavior and physical exercise as well as preparation for surgery and postoperative life style. We hypothesize that pre-operative CBT will result in better weight loss maintenance, reduction of maladaptive eating behavior and better adherence to postoperative lifestyle on the long term as compared to bariatric surgery alone.
Methods: One hundred and twenty eight patients that are on a waiting list for bariatric surgery are randomly assigned to the control or treatment condition. Patients in the treatment condition receive 10 sessions of CBT before surgery aimed at modifying dysfunctional eating habits and behaviors and developing more rational weight and body-related beliefs in order to enable long term maintenance of a healthier lifestyle after surgery. Weight loss, eating behavior, eating disorders, depression, quality of life and psychological distress are assessed before and after treatment, as well as 1, 3, and 5 year following surgery. (C) 2015 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.