Table 1.

Effectiveness of Weight Loss Treatments

Strength of RecommendationTreatmentComment
ADietary therapyLCDs (1000 to 1200 kcal/day) can reduce total body weight by an average of 8% over 3 to 12 months
Very-low-calorie diets produce greater initial weight loss than LCDs. However, the long term (>1 year) weight loss is not different from that of LCD
AAerobic physical activityExercise at 60% to 85% of estimated maximum heart rate over 3 to 7 30- to 60-min sessions per week produce a modest change (3 to 6 lb) at 1 year
ADiet and physical activityCombination results 3.3 to 6.6 lb greater weight loss over diet alone up to 2 years
BBehavior therapy9 lb over 4 years when used in combination with other weight loss approaches
No one behavior therapy seemed superior
BPharmacotherapyPart of comprehensive program of diet/exercise for BMI ≥30 or BMI ≥27 with obesity-related risk factors or disease. Produce modest change in weight (3 lb) at 6 months to 1 year
BSurgeryBMI ≥40 or BMI ≥35 with obesity-related risk factors or disease and after less invasive methods have failed can produce weight loss of 90 lb at 1 year
  • LCD, low-calorie diet; BMI, body mass index.

    Adapted from ref. 6.