Health Questions and Answers

Question: What are the general approach to treatment of obesity?


Treatment must be individualized, and the patient’s goals must be discussed. Frequently, patients want a rapid, substantial weight loss. Unfortunately, this goal is usually not healthy or attainable in the patient’s desired time frame. Since 1 lb of fat stores approximately 3500 kcal, in order to lose 1 lb of weight per week, the person must decrease caloric intake by roughly 500 kcal/day. This regimen is often extremely difficult to follow. Consequently, a more moderate approach is to restrict caloric intake (250-500 kcal reduction from basal intake) and increase energy expenditure (30 minutes of moderate physical activity most days of the week).

Reference: Larson PR, et al: Williams Textbook of Endocrinology, 10th ed. Philadelphia, W.B. Saunders, 2003.

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