Feature Article

Managing obesity

Abdullah Omari, Ian D Caterson



Obesity is a risk factor for several medical conditions and a significant cause of morbidity and mortality in our community. Using a tailored program to meet the patient’s needs can result in achievable weight reduction, improved quality of life and risk reduction

Key Points

  • Obtain a thorough medical history and include a weight history and questions about sleep apnoea.
  • Rather than insist on a target weight in the ideal weight range, aim for a 5 to 10% weight reduction, which has been shown to modify risk factors for conditions such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
  • All successful treatments involve some form of lifestyle intervention affecting energy intake and energy expenditure.
  • Pharmacotherapy should be considered in those whose obesity is very severe or carries an established risk of comorbid disease. Pharmacotherapy must be complemented with diet, physical activity and behavioural modification.
  • Surgery is an effective option for selected patients.