A Brief History

The Trevose Behavior Modification Program (TBMP) began in Philadelphia in 1970 with ten members.  It was founded by David S. Zelitch, an insurance executive, under the direction of Albert J. Stunkard, M.D., Professor of Psychiatry and Director of the Obesity Research Clinic at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine.

After a heart attack, David Zelitch had lost nearly 100 pounds by following many of the behavioral modifications and changes in eating habits advocated by Dr. Stunkard.  In 1973 the group moved to Trevose, Pennsylvania and took its present name.  In 1976, Mary L. Jackson, a successful member of the program who also lost nearly 100 pounds, became co-director.

Together David Zelitch and Mary Jackson selected and trained thousands of successful members.  Dr. Stunkard and his associates Drs. Henry Jordan, Leonard Levitz, Kelly Brownell and Thomas Wadden, lectured to our groups and provided counsel.

Most applicants wait three to six months for a place in TBMP.  We select new members based on the probability of their success in the program.

Members meet in groups of ten people for one hour a week.  During the first six months they engage in an intensive study of their eating habits.  The goal is to substitute good habits for bad habits and to learn to keep their lost weight off permanently.  This process includes increasing awareness of those habits and keeping a written record of daily food intake.  Nutrition education is also stressed and a regular program of increased physical activity is strongly encouraged.

In order to remain in TBMP, members must attend every meeting, keep all written records, and lose a predetermined amount of weight every month.  Nearly eighty percent of the members accepted into the program meet these requirements and are still active after six months.  Today there are nearly 100 Satellite Groups and over 1000 members in the Program.

Leadership, and all of the work, is provided by a team of highly dedicated members who have been successful in the program.  They volunteer their time and are fulfilling their promise to help others.

No charges of any kind are made for membership in TBMP.  (A voluntary contribution provides funds for expenses and supplies.)  Members produce a monthly newsletter called the "Modifier" which contains articles of interest, Program announcements and personal stories by our members.

David Zelitch was retired and devoted most of his time to the TBMP, while successfully retaining his weight loss.  In June of 1998, David passed away.

Mary Jackson continues her role of leadership as Director of TBMP.  Mary devotes her time to the Program and to her highly successful private practice in weight loss through Behavior Modification.  Mary also maintains her weight loss.


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