Obesity treatment is very complicated - what works for one person may not work for another. When you consider factors such as environment, heredity and personal eating habits, it's easy to see that treatment must be personalized.
Also, obesity must be managed with treatment that provides long-term support, education and monitoring. Medical treatment for obesity has included dietary manipulation, behavior modification and medications. These have been tried alone and together in combinations, but with only limited long-term positive results.
According to the American Society for Bariatric Surgery, the following are some typical weight loss treatments for obesity:
Dietary Manipulation & Behavior Modification
To greatly increase the chances of success, a course of diet, exercise and behavioral therapy should be supervised by qualified physicians. The "yo-yo" effect of weight loss and subsequent gain common to self-administered diet plans can actually create additional physical and psychological problems.
The course of treatment will focus on severely restricting caloric input while maintaining nutritional needs. A progressive exercise plan to increase the body's metabolism counteracts the natural slowing of metabolism when caloric intake is restricted. Finally, behavior modification therapy can help to alter negative impulses and promote healthier food (and life) choices.
Unfortunately, while many patients respond with rapid and significant weight loss on programs such as the one above, results tend to diminish over time.
Usually prescribed along with a program of diet and exercise, new medications have been shown to increase the rate at which weight loss occurs. However, weight loss plateaus for most people after several months and weight is often regained if the course of medication is discontinued. Current drugs can also have serious side effects, which must be carefully considered by physician and patient.
Weight Loss Surgery
While research continues into non-surgical alternatives to combat severe obesity, surgery is currently the most effective method of achieving dramatic and sustained weight loss.
Weight loss surgery is major surgery involving risks and possible complications. Usually, the minimum qualification to be considered a candidate is a person with a Body Mass Index (BMI) score of 40 or greater, or at least 100 pounds above ideal body weight. Surgery is primarily viewed as an option to alleviate chronic, debilitating disease caused by morbid obesity.
Patients must also be highly motivated. Extensive dietary, exercise and medical guidelines must be followed for the rest of their lives after surgery.