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Understanding Obesity Treatment

How Is Obesity Treated?

Obesity is having a body mass index of at least 30. Losing weight brings your BMI down, and you start getting health benefits sooner than you might think.

Research shows that even modest weight loss lowers your chances of getting diabetes, heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, and other weight-related diseases.

Changing your diet is most important. Your doctor or a registered dietitian can help you pick a plan that will work for you. You have a lot of options. One of the keys will be choosing a diet that helps you build healthy eating habits that will last.

If you need to lose weight quickly to protect your health, you may consider going on a very low-calorie diet if your doctor decides it’s safe for you. People aren’t supposed to stay on this diet for a long time because it lacks some of the nutrients the body needs. Such diets should be done only with careful medical supervision.

Exercise is also a natural part of a weight loss plan. It does more than burn calories -- it's also good for your heart, bones, mood, and energy level. And once you lose the weight, being active helps you keep the pounds off.

There are weight-loss medications, prescription and nonprescription, but they should be used only along with a weight-loss diet and exercise program.

Surgery is sometimes used to treat obesity. Many doctors will consider it only for people who have not been able to lose weight with other treatments and who are at high risk for getting other health problems because of their weight. If you do have weight loss surgery, you'll still need to change your diet and exercise for lasting results.

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by David T. Derrer, MD on August 16, 2014

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