Obesity

  • Medical Author:
    Jerry R. Balentine, DO, FACEP

    Dr. Balentine received his undergraduate degree from McDaniel College in Westminster, Maryland. He attended medical school at the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine graduating in1983. He completed his internship at St. Joseph's Hospital in Philadelphia and his Emergency Medicine residency at Lincoln Medical and Mental Health Center in the Bronx, where he served as chief resident.

  • Medical Editor: Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD
    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.

Habits That Can Help You Lose Weight Slideshow

Quick GuideWeight Gain Shockers Pictures Slideshow: Surprising Reasons You're Gaining Weight

Weight Gain Shockers Pictures Slideshow: Surprising Reasons You're Gaining Weight

What can be done about obesity?

All too often, obesity prompts a strenuous diet in the hopes of reaching the "ideal body weight." Some amount of weight loss may be accomplished, but the lost weight usually quickly returns. Most people who lose weight regain the weight within five years. It is clear that a more effective, long-lasting treatment for obesity must be found.

We need to learn more about the causes of obesity, and then we need to change the ways we treat it. When obesity is accepted as a chronic disease, it will be treated like other chronic diseases such as diabetes and high blood pressure. The treatment of obesity cannot be a short-term "fix" but has to be an ongoing lifelong process.

Obesity treatment must acknowledge that even modest weight loss can be beneficial. For example, a modest weight loss of 5%-10% of the initial weight, and long-term maintenance of that weight loss can bring significant health gains, including

  • lowered blood pressure;
  • reduced blood levels of cholesterol;
  • reduced risk of type 2 (adult-onset) diabetes (In the Nurses Health Study, women who lost 5 kilograms [11 pounds] of weight reduced their risk of diabetes by 50% or more.);
  • decreased chance of stroke;
  • decreased complications of heart disease;
  • decreased overall mortality.

It is not necessary to achieve an "ideal weight" to derive health benefits from obesity treatment. Instead, the goal of treatment should be to reach and hold to a "healthier weight." The emphasis of treatment should be to commit to the process of lifelong healthy living, including eating more wisely and increasing physical activity.

In sum, the goal in dealing with obesity is to achieve and maintain a "healthier weight."

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 12/9/2015
VIEW PATIENT COMMENTS
  • Obesity - Effective Treatments

    What kinds of treatments have been effective for your obesity?

    Post View 14 Comments
  • Obesity - Are You Obese?

    Many adults and children are considered obese. Please share your personal experience with being overweight or obese.

    Post View 3 Comments
  • Obesity - Surgery Experience

    Did you or someone you know have surgery to treat obesity? Please describe what the experience was like.

    Post

Health Solutions From Our Sponsors