Is it possible that healthy diet and exercise alone cannot treat obesity?

Many of us have been there and it is widely accepted that a healthy diet and exercise are essential for good health, but is it possible that these things alone may not be the answer to overcoming obesity? According to an article published in The Lancet Diabetes and Endocrinology, obesity experts claim that obesity is more like a chronic disease that occurs for several reasons. What does this mean? It means that many obesity cases may not be cured by diet and exercise alone. The article cited that 80-95% of people that lose weight will eventually gain back that weight. According to Dr. Ochner, professor of pediatrics and psychiatry at the Icahn School of Medicine, many people seem to be gain back the weight they lost due to “fat loss defense” that happens when we reduce our caloric intake. Back in the old days this body mechanism was useful when food wasn’t always available. Of course for many of us living in our society today the problem might be that food is too readily available. Most individuals who are obese are typically different from people who have never had obesity according to Dr. Ochner.
It’s an interesting article and one that I agree with points in the paper and with other points I do not. Yes, I do agree that sustained weight loss is difficult to maintain, but with the right mindset and the right tools, I believe that keeping the weight off is very possible. Again, this does depend on the individual. I do believe that sometimes diet and exercise are not enough, but I also do not agree that the only option for sustained weight loss is having bariatric surgery. If you need a more hands-on approach to managing your overall health, do not hesitate to contact my office for an appointment.

Dr. Shah, MD

Sources:
Whiteman, Honor. “Healthy diet, exercise ‘not enough to treat obesity,’ say experts.” Medical News Today. MediLexicon, Intl., 13 Feb. 2015. Web.
19 Feb. 2015.