Department of Psychiatry
Penn Behavioral Health

Albert J. Stunkard Weight Management Program

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Our Principles of Practice

For 50 years, Penn’s Center for Weight and Eating Disorders has been informed by a continuing commitment to understanding, preventing, and treating obesity and its related health complications.  The Albert J. Stunkard Weight Management Program brings this dedicated expertise into practice to help individuals achieve long-term weight control.

Our philosophy is simple and straightforward – overweight individuals should be treated compassionately and professionally.  Excess weight is a complex problem that affects many aspects of an individual’s health and quality of life.  We believe that the causes of weight gain are multi-faceted and that overweight individuals need and deserve a weight loss program tailored to their needs.  The multidisciplinary treatment program at the Albert J. Stunkard Weight Management Program is dedicated to providing the highest level of care to overweight individuals in a setting of clinical and research excellence.


Medically Supported

The Albert J. Stunkard Weight Management Program offers comprehensive, medically-supported treatment. We know that many overweight persons suffer from serious medical conditions.  As a part of the University of Pennsylvania Health System, the Program draws on the expertise of specialists in several areas, including:

  • Cardiology
  • Clinical Nutrition
  • Exercise Physiology
  • Internal Medicine
  • Psychology/Psychiatry
  • Pulmonary Medicine
  • Gastroenterology
  • Endocrinology
  • Rehabilitation Medicine
  • Orthopedics
  • Sleep Medicine
  • Women’s Health


Informed by Research

The Albert J. Stunkard Weight Management Program is committed to translating the newest research findings into the highest quality care for each patient.  The Program collaborates with the Center for Weight and Eating Disorders and investigators in other medical disciplines to pursue research studies, implement new treatment strategies, and share the latest findings to support patients in their weight management efforts.

Please click here if you are interested in learning more about our research efforts.


Individually Tailored Treatment

At the Albert J. Stunkard Weight Management Program, we work closely with patients to develop a treatment plan that is customized to each person’s specific weight and health needs.  We know that weight problems may result from a variety of factors including genetics, illness, eating and exercise habits, and emotional distress. The treatment team works with patients to assess the causes and consequences of their excess weight and then develops a treatment program that addresses their needs.

We offer both group and individual sessions to address our patients’ varied goals.  Individuals with a significant amount of weight to lose usually enroll in our 13-week Health First Program.  This medically-supervised intervention is designed to achieve maximum reductions in weight and improvements in cardiovascular health including blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar. The program is provided on both an individual and group basis.  Follow-up programs, like our Encore Program, provide the support and education needed for long-term weight management.