How to Manage and Treat Obesity

What Is Obesity?

According to the Mayo Clinic, obesity is a complex disease involving an excessive amount of body fat. Obesity is not a choice, it is a disease. It’s a medical problem that increases the risk of other diseases and health problems, such as heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, and certain cancers.

How Is Obesity Diagnosed?

Body Mass Index (BMI) is the tool that is used to diagnose obesity. To calculate BMI, multiply weight in pounds by 703, divide by height in inches, and then divide again by height in inches.

BMI does not directly measure body fat, so someone who is very muscular may have a BMI in the obesity category even though they don’t have excess body fat.


BMI Weight status
Below 18.5 Underweight
18.5-24.9 Normal
25.0-29.9 Overweight
30.0 and higher Obesity

Risk Factors of Obesity


  • The genes you inherit from your parents may affect the amount of body fat you store and where the fat is distributed
  • Genetics may play a role in how your body converts food into energy
  • How your body regulates your appetite
  • How your body burns calories during physical activity


  • A diet that is high in calories, lacks fruits and vegetables, and contains sugary beverages are factors that contribute to weight gain
  • Liquid calories such as soft drinks, alcohol, and sugary juice
  • Inactivity: If you have a sedentary lifestyle, you can easily take in more calories than you burn
  • The number of hours spent in front of a screen is highly associated with weight gain

Diseases and Medications

  • Prader-Willi Syndrome
  • Arthritis
  • Antidepressants
  • Anti-seizure medications
  • Diabetes medications
  • Antipsychotic medications
  • Steroids
  • Beta-Blockers

Social and Economic Factors

  • Lack of safe places to walk or exercise
  • Food deserts (little to no access to healthy food options)

Other Factors

  • Age
  • Stress
  • Microbiome
  • Pregnancy
  • Quitting Smoking
  • Lack of Sleep

Chronic Diseases Associated with Obesity

  • Heart Disease and Strokes: Obesity makes you more likely to have high blood pressure and abnormal cholesterol levels, which are risk factors for heart disease and strokes
  • Type 2 Diabetes: Obesity can affect the way the body uses insulin to control blood sugar levels
  • Certain Cancers: Obesity may increase the risk of cancer of the uterus, cervix, endometrium, ovary, breast, colon, live, pancreas, kidney, and prostate
  • Sleep Apnea: People with obesity are more likely to have sleep apnea which is when your breathing stops and starts during sleep
  • Osteoarthritis: Obesity increases the stress placed on weight-bearing joints, in addition to promoting inflammation within the body

Learn More About Obesity From Mayo Clinic


How to Manage and Treat Obesity

Obesity treatment includes lifestyle changes (what we eat, sleep habits, physical activity habits, mindfulness, addressing stress, and mental health), managing our chronic diseases, medications for energy regulation, and surgery for adults and older adolescents.

Changing Your Habits

  • Healthy eating plan with the help of a dietitian or your primary care provider
  • Regular physical activity
  • Set goals, start slow, and build up over time

Weight-Loss Medications

  • Should be combined with your healthy eating plan and regular physical activity

Bariatric Surgery

  • An option if you have extreme obesity and haven’t been able to lose weight
  • An option for lower levels of obesity if serious health conditions are also present


How Community Health Alliance Treats and Manages Obesity

Here at Community Health Alliance, we focus on lifestyles changes with our patients that have obesity. Our Healthy Living Program focuses on managing and treating childhood obesity. When a child comes in for a well-child check, they are given a healthy habits questionnaire to assess their daily habits. Their BMI is also determined at the visit by checking their weight and height and comparing it by age and gender. If a child has an elevated BMI and would like to work on their daily habits, a referral is sent to our Healthy Living Program. The program is a six-month program that includes monthly visits with a pediatrician, dietitian, behavioral health specialist, and nine virtual classes.

Our Evidence-Based Messaging Is 5210

5 servings of fruits and vegetables

2 hours or less of recreational screen time

1 hour or more of physical activity

0 sugary beverages


Watch this video to learn more about how Dr. Steven Shane, our American board-certified obesity medicine pediatrician, manages and treats childhood obesity at Community Health Alliance.


Additional Resources