Reducing Your Risk of Obesity

You can take steps to lower your risk of obesity by eating healthy and exercising.

Eat a Balanced, Healthful Diet

Talk to your doctor or a dietitian about the number of calories you can eat each day. Ask them what you can do to reach and stay at a healthy weight.

People on diets to treat other health problems should speak with their doctor or dietitian.

Other things that can help are:

  • Eating family meals.
  • Thinking about the drinks that you choose. Choose water instead of soda to quench your thirst.
  • Learn how food is made. Foods cooked or seasoned with fat can have more calories.
  • Limit eating out.
  • Choose healthy foods when you go shopping.
  • Focus on unprocessed foods.
  • Cook less food at mealtime and do not bring it all to the table.

Exercise Often

Exercise burns calories, takes your mind off eating, and helps put off a number of health problems. It also raises your metabolic rate long after you are done exercising. This helps you to burn more during the day, even when you are at rest.

Find a workout program that is right for you. Talk to your doctor or a certified trainer about working out. This may mean walking more on your errands, going to the gym, or doing things like biking, swimming, dancing, golf, or tennis. You do not have to be an athlete to stay in shape.

Adults should aim for 150 minutes per week.

Think About Counseling

Think about going to counseling if you feel that stress or your feelings play a role in your eating habits. Unhelpful thought patterns that can get in the way of weight loss.

Behavior therapy may help you find out:

  • When you eat too much
  • Why you eat too much
  • How to stop eating too much

Sleep Well

Studies have found that lack of sleep has been linked to an increased risk of obesity. Make sure you get at least 6 to 9 hours of sleep each night.



Dietary guidelines for Americans 2015-2020. US Department of Agriculture and US Department of Health and Human Services. Available at: Accessed July 29, 2019.
Obesity. Merck Manual Professional Version website. Available at:
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Update October 2018. Accessed July 29, 2019.
Obesity in adults. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: Updated November 30, 2018. Accessed July 29, 2019.
Screening and prevention. Available at:
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Accessed July 29, 2019.
Last reviewed June 2019 by EBSCO Medical Review Board Daniel A. Ostrovsky, MD