Date of Conferral



Doctor of Public Health (DrPH)


Public Health


Manoj Sharma


Obesity and morbid obesity affect more than 30% of Americans, which emulates the rate of smoking as the leading preventable cause of disease and death in the United States. The prevalence of obesity among adults in the United States increased dramatically between 1980 and 2010 (16% to 36%). The integration of the social cognitive theory (SCT) constructs such as self-efficacy, self-control, environment and expectations in the study instrument allowed identifying the impact of personal, social and economic factors on Registered Dietitians (RDs) counseling behaviors with obese clients. The goal of this quantitative cross sectional study was to investigate the association between RDs counseling behaviors and weight loss of clients using SCT. The sample of 150 RDs affiliated to the American Dietetic Association completed a survey to gather counseling behaviors with weight loss clients and SCT constructs. Data were analyzed using multiple regressions. The study showed a significant relationship between three SCT constructs such as self-efficacy in overcoming barriers, counseling environment and self-control with RDs counseling behaviors. The Spearman's rho correlations analyses between independent and dependent variables showed positive relationships between self-efficacy in overcoming barriers in counseling sessions and RDs counseling behaviors .34. The study adds to the literature on weight loss and RDs' counseling skills and creates the foundation for further research studies to reduce obesity by improving counseling skills among RDs.