Obesity Treatment: Diets, Exercise, Surgery and Medication

Obesity man walking

Successful weight-loss or obese treatments include setting goals (Actually setting realistic weight-loss goals is an important first step to losing weight) and making lifestyle changes, such as eating fewer calories and being physically active. Medicines and weight-loss surgery also are options for some people if lifestyle changes aren't yielding as expected.

Reducing Diets

The first method most people try is a reducing diet, which is lower in calories than those being used by the individual. By doing this, the person must use energy stored by the body as fat to provide energy not obtained through eating, so they should lose weight. Many ‘fad’ diets have been created over the years, but the principle remains the same: eating less than the energy you use.


Along with reducing the number of calories being eaten, increasing exercise will use more energy up, and has the added benefit of improving heart and health mental well-being.


Surgery is only considered in the case of people who are classed as morbidly obese, with a BMI of 35 or more. At this size, people have significant health risks, such as heart disease and diabetes. If they have been unable to reduce their weight through diet and exercise, surgery may be considered. Patients will only be accepted for this treatment if they are fit for anesthetic, and if they are prepared to commit to follow-up care, to ensure that the cost can be justified.

There are three operations widely used in weight-loss surgery:
  1. Gastric band (also known as stomach stapling)
  2. Gastric bypass
  3. Intra-gastric balloon


It is now recognized that obesity is a complicated disorder, and that weight loss is very difficult for some people to achieve. Currently there are two drugs approved to help with weight loss, Orlistat (Alli) and Sibutramine (Reductil). They still require the person to eat a healthy diet and exercise, but make it a little easier to lose weight.

To find out more you can visit www.nationalobesityforum.org.uk
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