Current concepts in the management of obesity. An evidence based review

Saudi Med J. 2001 Mar;22(3):205-10.


The increasing prevalence of overweight and obesity is an important public health problem contributing to significant excess in morbidity and mortality. A cross-sectional national epidemiological household survey showed that the prevalence of obesity in female Saudi subjects was among the highest reported. Obesity is a complex multifactorial chronic disease that develops from an interaction of genotype and the environment. Our understanding of how and why obesity develops is incomplete, but involves the integration of social behavioral, cultural physiological, metabolic and genetic factors. While there is agreement about health risks of over weight and obesity, there is less agreement about their management. Primary health care services should play the dominant role for obesity management. Family physicians need to assess the patient's readiness to enter weight loss therapy and take appropriate steps for motivation. Weight loss and weight maintenance therapy should employ the combination of low caloric diet, increased physical activity, and behavioral therapy. Weight loss drugs may be used as part of comprehensive weight loss program. Weight loss surgery is an option for carefully selected patients with severe obesity Body Mass Index greater than 40. After successful weight loss, a program consisting of dietary therapy, physical activity, and behavioural therapy, which should be continued indefinitely, enhances the likelihood of weight loss maintenance.

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Life Style
  • Obesity / epidemiology
  • Obesity / therapy*
  • Saudi Arabia / epidemiology