by EBSCO Medical Review Board

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Lifestyle changes are the main way to treat obesity. Weight loss happens when a person burns more calories than they take in. This is done with:


Calories will need to be lowered. This will result in weight loss. A dietitian can help with meal planning and serving sizes.

The diet should have:

  • High-fiber foods, such as fruits and veggies
  • Whole grains, such as brown rice
  • Lean meats, such as fish

The diet should avoid or limit:

  • Saturated and trans fats
  • Fast foods
  • Processed foods, such as crackers
  • Sugar, such as soda
  • Simple carbohydrates, such as candy

Physical Activity

Exercise and diet changes work best for weight loss. Adults with obesity should aim for 2.5 hours or more of moderate activity per week. Children should aim for at least 20 minutes a day of vigorous activity. Children should work up to 60 minutes per day. A certified athletic trainer can help make a workout plan.

Limiting Screen Time

Children and teens should limit screen time to 1 to 2 hours per day. Active children are more likely to lose weight.


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Obesity in adults. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: Accessed May 5, 2022.

Obesity in children and adolescents. EBSCO DynaMed website. Accessed May 5, 2022.

Obesity. Merck Manual Professional Version website. Available at: Accessed May 5, 2022.

Treatment. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute website. Available at: Accessed May 5, 2022.

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