Obesity Care Rx Considerations

Effective obesity care management begins with lifestyle modification (healthy eating patterns, increased physical activity and health behavior modification) for everyone as this is needed for optimal health.

For select patients where lifestyle management is not effective enough to achieve improved health, medications or bariatric surgery can also be considered.

As new and more effective medication treatments have been developed, many patients have been asking new questions:

1-Do New Medication Treatments Take the Place of a Healthy Lifestyle?

Anti-obesity medications alter one’s appetite which allows individuals to better follow a calorie-controlled and healthy diet.

And yet there is no medication that will replace the health-promoting benefits you get from aerobic activities and resistance training.

Whether you’re starting on a new anti-obesity medication or considering bariatric surgery, I still see lifestyle modification as foundational to all weight management treatment modalities.

If you are taking one of the newer anti-obesity medications, it’s important to know how these medications may alter your dietary intake and affect your muscle mass so you can be proactive and take steps to improve your health.

2-Can a PCP Help Me Manage My Weight?

Though your primary care professional (PCP) may not be an expert in weight management, they are likely to be an expert in knowing about you and your medical history.

This is always a good place to start.

Ideally, your PCP will have resources to share that may involve helpful apps, online programs, books, medications to try if you are a candidate and other professional counseling tips and referrals pertaining to diet, exercise, surgery, mood, stress or sleep management.

Your PCP can also help monitor your progress through follow up visits and periodic assessment of your overall health.

Scheduling a weight-focused visit can also be helpful.

3-Is Weight Loss My Treatment Goal?

The goal of treatment is improved overall health and health-related quality of life, not solely weight loss.

Since the newer generation of medications are more effective for weight loss, it is important to focus on additional HEALTH BENEFITS that accrue, such as:

  • increased vitality
  • improved self-esteem
  • taking less medications for high blood pressure or diabetes
  • improved metabolic and heart health
  • less joint pain or stiffness
  • better mood

With or without medication therapy, obesity care treatments require personalization to better meet your needs.

If you want to find your personalized path to better managing weight while also improving your health habits, check out my self-help book, Six Factors to Fit: Weight Loss that Works for You!


Robert Kushner, MD

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