Return to Index
Treatments for Obesity
Related Media: Overcoming Your Obstacles to Exercising
Obesity is difficult to treat, and success rates are not high. Cultural factors, personal habits, lifestyle, and genetics all affect obesity treatment.
The treatment and management of obesity involves major lifestyle changes related to your grocery shopping, food preparation, eating, and exercise habits. Medications play only a small supplementary role, and surgery is limited to people with morbid obesity or those who have complications.
The goal of treatment is to reduce your weight to a point where it is no longer a risk to your health. The initial goal is to lose approximately 10% of the baseline body weight or 1-2 pounds a week in the first 6 months of treatment. This may be less weight than you would like to lose, but it may be a more realistic goal. Once the weight is lost, it is essential to maintain and prevent the regain of weight through better eating habits and regular exercise. While that is happening, measures to preserve your health and prevent the onset of medical complications may also be recommended.
Treatment involves the following:Lifestyle changesMedicationsSurgeryAlternative and complementary therapiesOther treatments
August GP, Caprio S, Fennoy I, et al. Prevention and treatment of pediatric obesity: an endocrine society clinical practice guideline based on expert opinion.. J Clin Endoc Met. 2008;93(12):4576-4599.
Barlow SE, Expert Committee. Expert committee recommendations regarding the prevention, assessment, and treatment of child and adolescent overweight and obesity: summary report. Pediatrics. 2007;120(Suppl):S164-S192.
Mechanick JI, Kushner RF, Sugerma HJ, et al. American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists, The Obesity Society, and American Society for Metabolic & Bariatric Surgery medical guidelines for clinical practice for the perioperative nutritional, metabolic, and nonsurgical support of the bariatric surgery patient. Endocrine Prac. 2008;14(3):318-336.
Obesity in adults. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at: http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T115009/Obesity-in-adults. Updated July 10, 2016. Accessed October 6, 2016.
Obesity in children and adolescents. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T115153/Obesity-in-children-and-adolescents. Updated July 10, 2016. Accessed October 6, 2016.
Snow V, Barry P, Fitterman N, et al. Pharmacologic and surgical management of obesity in primary care: a clinical practice guideline from the American College of Physicians. Ann Intern Med. 2005;142(7):525-531.
- Reviewer: Kim A. Carmichael, MD
- Review Date: 03/2016
- Update Date: 03/15/2015