Feature Article

Management of obesity

Sharon Marks



Levels of overweight and obesity in Australia, as well as overseas, are escalating. The treatment of obesity should be divided into an initial weight-loss phase followed by long-term maintenance. Barriers to good management strategies are many because medical issues such as diabetes, hyperlipidaemia and hypertension often take precedence.

Key Points

  • Weight loss will occur if an energy deficit is sustained. There are many ways to achieve this and so individual counselling as well as trial and error is necessary.
  • Weight management should be divided into the initial weight-loss phase followed by long-term weight maintenance. Strategies for both phases need to be developed with acknowledgement of the very easy weight regain seen in patients who are unable to maintain an energy deficit.
  • Expected weight gain after changes in medication or lifestyle can sometimes be avoided if both the patient and doctor are proactive rather than reactive.
  • Treatments currently available, either licensed or used off-label, are not usually sufficient to achieve and maintain the ideal bodyweight and so goals such as risk-factor modification and reduction in medications that cause weight gain become more important.