Healthdirect Free Australian health advice you can count on.

Medical problem? Call 1800 022 222. If you need urgent medical help, call triple zero immediately

healthdirect Australia is a free service where you can talk to a nurse or doctor who can help you know what to do.

beginning of content

Obesity treatments

2-minute read

See your doctor if you are obese and you wish to lose weight to talk about things like:

  • what type of diet is right for you
  • how much and what type of exercise is appropriate for you
  • whether you need further testing or treatments for obesity-related conditions
  • whether you need treatment for an underlying cause of obesity such as polycystic ovary syndrome

Your doctor may refer you to other professionals and services for advice such as an exercise physiologist, a physiotherapist or a dietitian.

Lifestyle changes

There is no ‘magic wand’ treatment for obesity. Weight loss programs take commitment and can be challenging, but they can be successful for people who stick with them.

If you want to lose weight, you will have to combine a kilojoule-controlled diet with regular exercise.


If you're overweight or obese, losing weight can bring you a range of important health benefits. The key to success is making realistic changes to your diet and level of physical activity that can become a part of your daily routine. Read more about obesity and exercise.


Most people will need to reduce their daily kilojoule intake in order to lose weight. One way to do this is to swap unhealthy and high energy food choices such as fast food, processed food and sugary drinks (including alcohol) for healthier choices. Read more about obesity and diet.


There are several prescription and non-prescription medicines available for weight loss in Australia, however it's important to use these in combination with reduced kilojoule intake and increased physical activity. Some work by reducing the amount of fat absorbed during digestion, others work by suppressing appetite.

Weight loss medicines have side effects and aren't suitable for all people - and are not recommended if you are pregnant. Talk to your doctor or pharmacist before starting a weight loss medicine to find out if it is right for you.


Obesity surgery or bariatric surgery can help some people to lose weight by changing the way the body digests and absorbs food.

To decide whether or not someone qualifies for obesity surgery, a doctor will take into account such things as having a very high body mass index (BMI), being unable to lose weight by other means, and being physically unable to perform daily tasks. To find out more about surgery for obesity talk to your doctor.

Learn more here about the development and quality assurance of healthdirect content.

Last reviewed: July 2018

Back To Top

Recommended links

Need more information?

These trusted information partners have more on this topic.

Top results

Obesity & Eating Disorders

People who are described as obese often experience a high degree of stigma and discrimination, which can lead to lower educational attainment and fewer social and employment opportunities

Read more on NEDC - National Eating Disorders Collaboration website

Cognitive behavioural therapy for weight loss information | myVMC

Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT)is a type of psychological therapy that can be used to treat obesity by identifying thought patterns related to unhealthy eating, helping a person to increase theirmotivation to do exercise, giving them coping skills or changing their body image and self-esteem.

Read more on myVMC – Virtual Medical Centre website

Obesity and overweight -

Energy-dense foods (those that have a lot of kilojoules in a small volume) can be associated with weight gain, especially if you eat a lot of them. These foods tend to be high in sugar and/or fat.

Read more on myDr website

Childhood obesity -

More than one in 4 kids aged 5-17 years in Australia is above a healthy weight. Find out how to help kids make changes to their diet and activity levels.

Read more on myDr website

Idiopathic Intracranial Hypertension - Headache Australia

It is a syndrome of raised intracranial pressure which is more common in women (4-8 times more) and is associated with obesity (+93% of patients are obese).

Read more on Migraine and Headache Australia website

Fatty liver -

Fatty liver is a condition most commonly found in heavy drinkers or people who are obese or have diabetes. There are usually no symptoms.

Read more on myDr website

Prader-Willi syndrome | Garvan Institute of Medical Research

Prader-Willi syndrome (PWS) is a genetic disorder that causes insatiable appetite and often leads to morbid obesity. Read about Garvan's research and latest findings.

Read more on Garvan Institute of Medical Research website

Weightloss -

People who are overweight or obese are more at risk of health problems. Reducing your weight reduces many of these risks. Find out what products are available for weight loss.

Read more on myDr website

Achieving and maintaining a healthy weight -

Even losing 5-10 per cent of your bodyweight if you are overweight or obese can have a beneficial effect. Find out how to lose weight and keep it off.

Read more on myDr website

Alcohol and weight gain - Better Health Channel

While the relationship between alcohol consumption and obesity remains unclear, there are good reasons to think that alcohol may play a role.

Read more on Better Health Channel website

Healthdirect 24hr 7 days a week hotline

24 hour health advice you can count on

1800 022 222

Government Accredited with over 140 information partners

We are a government-funded service, providing quality, approved health information and advice

Australian Government, health department logo ACT Government logo New South Wales government, health department logo Northen Territory Government logo Government of South Australia, health department logo Tasmanian government logo Government of Western Australia, health department logo