Obesity is a chronic metabolic disease characterised by an increase of body fat stores. It is a gateway to ill health, and it has become one of the leading causes of disability and death, affecting not only adults but also children and adolescents worldwide. In clinical practice, the body fatness is estimated by BMI, and the accumulation of intra-abdominal fat (marker for higher metabolic and cardiovascular disease risk) can be assessed by waist circumference. Complex interactions between biological, behavioural, social and environmental factors are involved in regulation of energy balance and fat stores. A comprehensive history, physical examination and laboratory assessment relevant to the patient's obesity should be obtained. Appropriate goals of weight management emphasise realistic weight loss to achieve a reduction in health risks and should include promotion of weight loss, maintenance and prevention of weight regain. Management of co-morbidities and improving quality of life of obese patients are also included in treatment aims. Balanced hypocaloric diets result in clinically meaningful weight loss regardless of which macronutrients they emphasise. Aerobic training is the optimal mode of exercise for reducing fat mass while a programme including resistance training is needed for increasing lean mass in middle-aged and overweight/obese individuals. Cognitive behavioural therapy directly addresses behaviours that require change for successful weight loss and weight loss maintenance. Pharmacotherapy can help patients to maintain compliance and ameliorate obesity-related health risks. Surgery is the most effective treatment for morbid obesity in terms of long-term weight loss. A comprehensive obesity management can only be accomplished by a multidisciplinary obesity management team. We conclude that physicians have a responsibility to recognise obesity as a disease and help obese patients with appropriate prevention and treatment. Treatment should be based on good clinical care, and evidence-based interventions; should focus on realistic goals and lifelong multidisciplinary management.
© 2015 S. Karger GmbH, Freiburg.