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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 1-2 pounds a week in the first 6 months of treatment. This may be less weight than you would like to lose, but it may be a more realistic goal. This is done with lifestyle changes, including how you shop, how you prepare food, and changing eating and exercise habits. Once the weight is lost, it is essential to maintain and prevent the regain of weight through better eating habits and regular exercise.

Treatment will:

  • Improve quality of life
  • Allow you do participate in activities
  • Reduce the risk of physical and psychological complications associated with obesity

Be aware that obesity is difficult to treat and success rates are not high. Cultural factors, personal habits, lifestyle, and genetics all affect the treatment process. Medications play only a small supplementary role and surgery is limited to people with morbid obesity or those who have complications. Many benefit from counseling and support groups.

Obesity treatment includes:


Barlow SE, Expert Committee. Expert committee recommendations regarding the prevention, assessment, and treatment of child and adolescent overweight and obesity: summary report. Pediatrics. 2007;120(Suppl):S164-S192.

Mechanick JI, Kushner RF, Sugerma HJ, 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 Prac. 2008;14(3):318-336.

Obesity. Merck Manual Professional Version website. Available at: Update December 2016. Accessed February 23, 2017.

Obesity in adults. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at: Updated November 20, 2016. Accessed February 23, 2017.

Obesity in children and adolescents. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Updated January 30, 2017. Accessed February 23, 2017.

Treatment. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute website. Available at: Updated February 23, 2017. Accessed February 23, 2017.

Why treat obesity as a disease? Obesity Society website. Available at: Updated April 2016. Accessed February 23, 2017.

Last reviewed February 2017 by Michael Woods, MD, FAAP  Last Updated: 2/23/2017