Obesity: Risk factors, complications, and strategies for sustainable long-term weight management

J Am Assoc Nurse Pract. 2017 Oct;29(S1):S3-S14. doi: 10.1002/2327-6924.12510.


Background and purpose: The aims of this article are to review the effects of obesity on health and well-being and the evidence indicating they can be ameliorated by weight loss, and consider weight-management strategies that may help patients achieve and maintain weight loss.

Methods: Narrative review based on literature searches of PubMed up to May 2016 with no date limits imposed. Search included terms such as "obesity," "overweight," "weight loss," "comorbidity," "diabetes," cardiovascular," "cancer," "depression," "management," and "intervention."

Conclusions: Over one third of U.S. adults have obesity. Obesity is associated with a range of comorbidities, including diabetes, cardiovascular disease, obstructive sleep apnea, and cancer; however, modest weight loss in the 5%-10% range, and above, can significantly improve health-related outcomes. Many individuals struggle to maintain weight loss, although strategies such as realistic goal-setting and increased consultation frequency can greatly improve the success of weight-management programs. Nurse practitioners have key roles in establishing weight-loss targets, providing motivation and support, and implementing weight-loss programs.

Implications for practice: With their in-depth understanding of the research in the field of obesity and weight management, nurse practitioners are well placed to effect meaningful changes in weight-management strategies deployed in clinical practice.

Keywords: Obesity; effects; health; nurse practitioner communication; weight management.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Bariatric Surgery
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / etiology
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / etiology
  • Diet Records
  • Humans
  • Motivation
  • Neoplasms / etiology
  • Obesity / complications*
  • Obesity / surgery
  • Obesity / therapy*
  • Pediatric Obesity / complications
  • Pediatric Obesity / therapy
  • Risk Factors
  • Sleep Apnea Syndromes / etiology
  • Weight Loss*