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Obesity Treatment - How Obesity is Treated
Behavioral, Dietary, Exercise, Drug and Surgical Treatments
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Treatment of Obesity

Short Articles About Obesity and Overweight
Levels - Causes - Obesity & Weight Loss - Obesity & Gallstones - Genes - Gender
Types of Obesity Treatment - Exercise Counseling - Diet Counseling - Risk Factor for Cancer
Risk Factor for Diabetes - Risk Factor for Heart Disease - Obesity: A Major Health Risk
Does Obesity Increase the Risk of Premature Death - Syndrome X & Obesity
Rise of Obesity and Diabetes - Does Overweight Shorten Life? - Obesity & Risk of Premature Death
Obesity, BMI and Premature Death - Fitness, Obesity and Lifespan - Weight Loss Health Benefits
Benefits of Weight Loss - Obesity and Surgical Operations
Obesity Health Dangers for Children - Obesity & Colon Cancer - Health vs. Weight Loss
Body Fat & Cancer - Obesity, Weight Loss & Immune Function - Weight Loss & Sleep Apnea
Glycemic Index & Obesity - Health, Weight & Obesity

How is Obesity Treated

The exact method of treatment depends on your level of obesity, overall health condition, and motivation to lose weight.

  • Treatment for obesity may include a combination of diet, exercise, behavior modification, and sometimes weight-loss drugs. A combination of diet and physical activity (in conjunction with behavioral counseling) is probably more effective in sustaining weight loss than diet or exercise alone in adults. The type of physical activity does not seem important.
  • In some cases of severe obesity, gastrointestinal surgery may be recommended.
  • Obesity reduction and weight control is a life-long effort and may involve a series of major changes in eating habits, physical exercise routines and general lifestyle. The overwhelming evidence is that overweight and obese people should be encouraged to integrate changes to their lifestyle over a longer period of time to maintain the benefit of initial weight loss. A combination of decreased food intake and increased physical activity is more likely to lead to sustained weight loss.

Types of Obesity Treatment

As stated, the treatment of obesity and long term weight control involves a number of elements. Here are the some of the main ways in which the problems are approached.

1. TREATING OBESITY WITH BEHAVIORAL THERAPY/COUNSELING

Obesity Treatment - Behavioral and Family Counseling

  • Behavior modification and behavioural skills training to modify eating and physical activity habits to prevent weight regain are often used.
  • Behavioral counseling sessions involve all members of the family rather than individual counseling of the affected member (to be used in the prevention of obesity in children specifically).
  • Family therapy is more effective than conventional diet and exercise in preventing weight gain in children (but not necessarily in treatment of obesity).

Obesity Treatment - Dietary Counseling

  • Two main types of dietary therapy are a low calorie diet (800–1500 kcal daily), and a very low calorie diet (less than 800 kcal of energy daily), which usually consists of a protein-enriched liquid.
  • Energy consumption must be reduced. High calorie/low volume foods should be avoided and replaced with an increase in complex carbohydrates (such as whole grain foods) and an increase in fruit and vegetables.
  • A reduced fat intake is also an important element of a balanced healthy diet.
  • Very low calorie diets are not advisable in children and they are not effective.

Obesity Treatment - Exercise Counseling

  • The primary goal is to move sedentary people into an active category (even if it is moderate levels of intensity) and to move moderate level individuals into more vigorous levels.
  • It is more effective to promote less sedentary lifestyles (with less opportunity to eat excessively while watching TV, for example) than simply attempt to increase activity.
  • Accumulation of daily physical activity should be the key if 30 minutes at least five times a week seems unobtainable.
  • Modest, regular bouts of physical activity can lead to benefits. The type of exercise is not important and short bouts of walking can cumulatively be of much benefit.
  • Walking a mile a day for a year is equivalent in energy to that stored in 7 pounds of adipose (fat) tissue.
  • Habitual physical activity can also help keep weight off after weight loss has been achieved, and can reduce the threat of the post-weight-loss seesaw effect.
  • In terms of increasing children’s physical activity, a more active daily lifestyle should be encouraged rather than structured aerobic exercise schedules.

Obesity Treatment - An Incremental Approach Works Best

A number of themes are emerging on what strategies are the most effective in preventing obesity. A gradual, incremental stepwise approach seems to have the most beneficial long-term effect.

Small, sustainable modifications in diet, exercise and communication are more effective than restrictive strategies. With small steps, the family/individual can accommodate the required lifestyle modifications. Evidence for the effectiveness of obesity prevention and treatment is inconclusive.

2. TREATING OBESITY WITH WEIGHT LOSS DRUGS

If your doctor determines that you have obesity-related health problems or are at high risk for such problems, and if you have been unable to lose weight or maintain weight loss with nondrug treatment, he or she may recommend that you use prescription weight-loss medications.

  • Weight-loss medications may be appropriate for carefully selected patients who are at significant medical risk because of their obesity.
  • They are not recommended for people who are only mildly overweight unless they have health problems that are made worse by their weight.
  • These medications should not be used only to improve appearance.

3. TREATING OBESITY WITH WEIGHT LOSS SURGERY

Obesity Treatment - Gastrointestinal Surgery

Gastrointestinal surgery is a viable option for people who remain severely obese after trying nonsurgical approaches, or who suffer from serious obesity-related health problems. The surgery promotes weight loss by restricting food intake and, in some operations, interrupting the digestive process. As in other treatments for obesity, the best results are achieved with healthy eating behaviors and regular physical activity.

Candidates for Weight Loss Surgery

People who may consider gastrointestinal surgery include:

  • Those with a body mass index (BMI) above 40 - about 100 pounds of overweight for men and 80 pounds for women.
  • People with a BMI between 35 and 40 who suffer from type 2 diabetes or life-threatening cardiopulmonary problems such as severe sleep apnea or obesity-related heart disease.

Weight Loss Surgery - No Guaranteed Cure for Obesity

There are no guarantees for any obesity-treatment method, including gastrointestinal surgery, to produce and maintain weight loss. Success is possible only with maximum cooperation and commitment to behavioral change and medical follow-up - and this cooperation and commitment must be carried out for the rest of your life.

Sources:
The International Obesity Task Force (IOTF).
Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
UK National Health Service.


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