Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



First Advisor

Dr. Roger E. Ulrich

Second Advisor

Dr. Paul Mountjoy

Third Advisor

Dr. Alan Poling

Fourth Advisor

Dr. Roger Zabik


Four female subjects participated in an eight-week, behavioral weight control treatment program that emphasized changing the behavior of food choice and aerobic exercise. This study also tested the hypothesis that by utilizing measurements of an individual's resting metabolic rate to determine caloric level, an individual could lose weight without a disproportional drop in metabolic rate. During the initial eight weeks, subjects' resting metabolic rates were determined through the measure of oxygen consumption. Caloric intakes were based on a reduction of 500-1000 calories per day from the estimated number of calories expended daily. Using a multiple-baseline design, the effects of diet alone vs. diet and exercise were also evaluated. The diet used was a high carbohydrate, moderate protein, low-fat diet with a specific number of food exchanges recommended for each food group. For the initial six weeks of treatment, the aerobic exercise included an experimenter-conducted aerobic class. All four subjects lost weight with the diet/exercise individuals losing twice as many pounds as the diet-only subjects. The obtained resting metabolic measurements during the treatment phase indicated that three of four subjects lost weight while maintaining their pre-treatment metabolic rates. For the fourth subject who demonstrated a reduction in metabolic rate, the rate returned to baseline levels with the implementation of the exercise phase. At the five-month follow-up all subjects maintained their post-treatment losses and demonstrated food choices similar to treatment recommendations. At the one-year follow up, two of the subjects had maintained or demonstrated further losses. It is concluded that the treatment was effective in altering food choice but only partially successful in developing exercise habits. The resting metabolic measurement proved useful for feedback of the effects of diet and exercise.

Access Setting

Dissertation-Open Access