Obesity Treatment

Treatment for obesity centers on healthy weight loss. Treatment of obesity should also reduce the risk of health complications and improve quality of life. First-line treatments for obesity include dietary changes, behavioral changes and exercise for obesity. Weight loss medication and surgical treatment of obesity are usually only considered when other treatment options fail.

Some people receive treatment for obesity from general practitioners or dietitians, while others seek the services of an obesity treatment clinic, a weight loss program or an obesity support group.

Dietary Treatment for Obesity

Dietary treatment of obesity focuses on changing eating habits to promote slow, but steady, weight loss–usually one or two pounds a week. Fad diets or diets that severely restrict calorie intake aren’t recommended. Fad diets are ineffective over the long term, and diets that severely restrict calories can cause health problems.

In some cases, rapid weight loss is necessary for health. These situations may call for very low calorie diet (VLCD), which should only be attempted under a physician’s supervision.

Exercise for Obesity

Exercise for obesity helps burn calories and improves overall health. Most exercise treatment for obesity starts gradually with mild, low-impact activities like walking. Although aerobic activity burns calories most effectively, any form of activity helps treat obesity. Consult with a doctor before starting any exercise for obesity.

Lifestyle and Behavioral Changes

Lifestyle changes are necessary to lose weight and, over the long term, maintain this weight loss. Behavioral treatment for obesity may include learning to identify eating triggers and adding healthy foods to your diet. Individual counseling or weight loss support groups are available through an obesity clinic and other organization.

Medication and Obesity

Prescription weight loss medication is usually only used if diet and exercise for obesity fail, or if obesity-related health complications are present. Medication for obesity can cause side effects and will not provide long-term weight loss benefits, unless combined with dietary changes and exercise for obesity.

Surgical Treatment of Obesity

Surgical treatment of obesity is usually only considered when other treatments are unsuccessful. Obesity surgery is complicated and invasive, and comes with all the risks of major surgery. While surgical obesity treatment can be very effective, long-term weight loss is only possible if people alter their eating habits and activity levels.

Obesity surgery works by either reducing the size of the stomach, reducing the ability of the stomach to absorb nutrients, or a combination of the two. Most surgical treatments for obesity are not reversible.

Obesity Treatment Clinics

An obesity treatment clinic provides multiple types of treatment in a single location. For instance, an obesity clinic may offer dietitians, counseling, support groups and medical treatment for obesity. Generally speaking, treatment of obesity works best when a person commits to lifestyle changes, understands why he eats, exercises and has a support system. An obesity clinic can provide all this in a single convenient location.


Mayo Clinic. (2009). Obesity: Treatments and drugs. Retrieved April 25, 2010, from http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/obesity/DS00314/DSECTION=treatments-and-drugs.

National Women’s Health Information Center. (2010). Overweight, obesity, and weight loss. Retrieved April 25, 2010, from http://womenshealth.gov/faq/overweight-weight-loss.cfm#e.

Uwaifo, G.