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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 to 2 pounds a week in the first six 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:
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Mechanick JI, Kushner RF, 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 Practice. 2008;(Suppl 1).
Obesity in adults. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed. Updated August 16, 2012. Accessed August 28, 2012.
Obesity in children and adolescents. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed. Updated July 25, 2012. Accessed August 28, 2012.
Snow V, Barry P, 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;142:525-531.
Last reviewed March 2015 by Kim A. Carmichael, MD, FACP
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
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