Obesity is a risk factor and exacerbates many chronic conditions, particularly diabetes, but also hypertension, hyperlipidemia, heart disease, stroke, certain cancers, arthritis, and obstructive sleep apnea. Despite increased awareness within the public and healthcare system, there has still been a persistent rise in the prevalence of obesity over the past half-century. Failure to halt this epidemic is related to difficulties in adherence to lifestyle changes, forceful counter-regulatory mechanisms opposing weight loss, and the lack of efficient long-term therapy for obesity. This article summarizes the current medical approach to the treatment of obesity, reviewing strategies for lifestyle modification, available pharmacotherapy both as an adjunct to diet and exercise and to ameliorate comorbidities, and an overview of new pharmaceutical agents being developed.
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