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Obesity treatments

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 importnat 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.

Last reviewed: August 2016

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