Treating obesity

Whilst preventing obesity should be a priority, it is important that people who are already overweight or have obesity, seek treatment for it.

Obesity is not incurable and it is possible to take small steps to a healthier future.

It is important to talk to your doctor about your weight and work with him/her when deciding which treatment is right for you. This varies from person to person. If necessary you may be referred to a specialist who will discuss the options in more detail with you.

It is often a change in behaviour that contributes to weight gain. Modifying that behaviour is one way to treat the disease. A few suggested behaviour modifiers include:

  • Changing eating habits
  • Increasing physical activity
  • Becoming more knowledgeable about the body and how to nourish it appropriately
  • Joining a support or activity group
  • Setting realistic weight management goals

It is important to make a solid commitment to changing a behaviour or lifestyle. Involve your family or friends and ask them to help you make the necessary changes.

Lady working out in a gym

Obesity is not incurable and it is possible to take small steps to a healthier future.

Physical activity

Increasing or initiating physical activity is an important aspect in managing your weight. Today’s society has developed a very sedentary lifestyle and routine physical activity can greatly impact your health.

If you are not someone who takes regular exercise you should consult with your doctor before starting any exercise programme. Set realistic goals and make sure they are measurable.

Commercial programmes

Participating in a non-clinical programme or commercially operated programme is another form of treatment for obesity. Some programmes may be commercially operated, such as privately owned weight-loss chains. Private counsellors, web sites and support groups are also ways you can be involved in a non-clinical weight-loss programme.

Licensed healthcare professionals

Supervised weight-loss programmes providing treatment in a clinical setting with a licensed healthcare professional, such as a medical doctor, nurse, registered dietitian and/or psychologist may be appropriate options for you. These programmes typically offer services such as nutrition education, pharmacotherapy, physical activity and behavioural therapy

Weight-loss surgery

If you already have obesity and other medically supervised methods for weight-loss have failed or inappropriate, you may be recommended to have weight-loss surgery, sometimes referred to as bariatric surgery. It is a safe and effective option of long-term weight control for those with clinically severe obesity.

Weight-loss surgery is a surgical process that makes changes to your digestive system to enable you to lose weight by restricting how much you can eat, or by limiting the absorption of nutrients, and sometimes both.

Determining whether you may be an eligible candidate for bariatric surgery is a process that requires serious discussion with your doctor and your family. The criteria for being eligible to receive weight loss treatment in Europe varies by country but it will generally only be considered as an option for those who have severe obesity. As a guideline this may be those with a Body Mass Index (BMI) >40 kg/m2. However, it may also be considered for those who have a Body Mass Index (BMI) between 35 and 40 kg/m2 if they have serious conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure and sleep apnea.

There are three main bariatric weight-loss surgery options for patients with severe obesity.

Sleeve Gastrectomy

This procedure involves surgery on the stomach only. It removes approximately 2/3 of the stomach, which provides for quicker satiety and decreased appetite.

Gastric Bypass

This procedure creates a route for food bypassing most of the stomach and the first part of the small intestine, reducing nutrient absorption.

Gastric Band

This procedure uses a band that is placed at the top of the stomach to create a small pouch. With its reduced size, the pouch provides a sense of satiety after a very small meal.

Lady walks her dog

If you are not someone who takes regular exercise you should consult with your doctor before starting any exercise programme