Obesity/Overweight Treatment

Generally, the first goal in treating obesity and overweight is to achieve a healthier weight. Losing 5–10 percent of excess weight is often enough for the patient to start experiencing health benefits. On average, the safest pace for weight loss is 1 or 2 pounds a week.

A healthier diet, increased exercise, and lifestyle changes are often the first steps. Patients can work with doctors, nutritionists, and fitness experts to work out a program that best suits their needs. Always consult with a doctor before beginning any weight loss program. In some cases, medication (prescription or over-the-counter) and surgery may be recommended for weight loss.

Before you set your sights on slimming down, it's important to know just how to get an accurate waist measurement. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), waist measurements over 32 inches for women and 37 inches for men indicate increased health risks.

The experts at the University of California, Berkeley, Wellness Letter offer this advice:

  1. Position the tape measure at the midpoint between your lower rib and your hip bone, or just above your belly button. Hold it snug but don’t pull it tight!
  2. Stand up straight and breathe normally—don't suck in your tummy.
  3. Take your measurement as soon as you wake up, before breakfast.

Obesity/Overweight Prevention

In some cases (e.g., genetic causes, thyroid conditions, medications), obesity and overweight are not preventable, but may be controlled and managed. For patients who do not have a medical cause, the best way to prevent obesity and overweight is to burn more calories than are consumed. Patients should eat responsibly, control portion sizes, exercise regularly, and prioritize weight control.

Weight Loss Follow-up

It is important for any patient who is trying to lose weight to see a doctor regularly to monitor progress, make suggestions, interpret changes, and provide extra support.

Obesity/Overweight Prognosis

With support from physicians and medical staff, family, and friends, patients who maintain healthy habits often can keep their weight under control. Doing so improves their prognoses for health conditions complicated by obesity and overweight.

Diabetes, heart disease, cancer, and many other illnesses can be easier to treat when obesity and overweight are no longer issues.

Publication Review By: Karen Larson, M.D., Stanley J. Swierzewski, III, M.D.

Published: 16 Nov 2006

Last Modified: 15 Sep 2014