The main treatment for obesity consists of dieting and physical exercise. Diet programs may produce weight loss over the short term, but maintaining this weight loss is frequently difficult and often requires making exercise and a lower food energy diet a permanent part of a person's lifestyle. Success rates of long-term weight loss maintenance with lifestyle changes are low, ranging from 2–20%. Dietary and lifestyle changes are effective in limiting excessive weight gain in pregnancy and improve outcomes for both the mother and the child.
One medication, orlistat (Xenical), is current widely available and approved for long term use. Weight loss however is modest with an average of 2.9 kg (6.4 lb) at 1 to 4 years and there is little information on how these drugs affect longer-term complications of obesity. Its use is associated with high rates of gastrointestinal side effects and concerns have been raised about negative effects on the kidneys. Two other medications are also available. Lorcaserin (Belviq) results in an average 3.1 kg weight loss (3% of body mass) greater than placebo over a year. A combination of phentermine and topiramate (Qsymia) is also somewhat effective.
The most effective treatment for obesity is bariatric surgery. Surgery for severe obesity is associated with long-term weight loss and decreased overall mortality. One study found a weight loss of between 14% and 25% (depending on the type of procedure performed) at 10 years, and a 29% reduction in all cause mortality when compared to standard weight loss measures. However, due to its cost and the risk of complications, researchers are searching for other effective yet less invasive treatments.
Read more about this topic: Obesity
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