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How are overweight and obesity treated?

To treat overweight and obesity a number of strategies are used. The initial treatment of obesity includes diet modifications, behavioral therapies and exercise and in certain circumstances, drug intervention or surgery.

The goal of behavioral therapy is to produce long-term changes in eating behaviors and to modify diet and improve exercise. Many different techniques are used to accomplish this. More than two-thirds of adults are currently trying to lose weight or maintain their weight.
Once medical conditions are ruled out as a cause of being overweight, diet and exercise are the main treatments. A person who is very overweight may be helped by a surgical procedure such as gastric banding.
Successful treatments for weight loss include setting goals and making lifestyle changes such as eating fewer calories and being more physically active. Set Realistic Goals: Setting the right weight loss goals is an important first step to losing and maintaining weight. Lifestyle Changes: For long-term weight loss success, it's important for you and your family to make lifestyle changes. Calories: Cutting back on calories will help you lose weight. To lose 1 to 2 pounds a week, adults should cut back their calorie intake by 500 to 1,000 calories a day. Healthy Eating Plan: A healthy eating plan gives your body the nutrients it needs every day. Physical Activity: Staying active and eating fewer calories will help you lose weight and keep the weight off over time. Behavioral Changes: Changing your behaviors or habits around food and physical activity is important for losing weight. Weight Loss Medicines: Weight loss medicines approved by the FDA may be an option for some people. Other Medicines: Some prescription medicines are used to treat weight loss, but aren't FDA-approved for treating obesity. Over-the-Counter Products: OTC products often claim that a person taking them will lose weight. The FDA doesn't regulate these products because they're considered dietary supplements, not medicines. However, many of these products have serious side effects and aren't generally recommended. Weight Loss Surgery: Weight loss surgery may be an option for people with extreme obesity when other treatments have failed. This answer is based on source information from the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.