About Diabetes

Obesity Care and Beyond

Living with obesity can be hard, but we’re here to help you on your journey to better health. It starts with small steps that lead to big improvements. 

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Obesity Care Your Way

The American Diabetes Association’s (ADA’s) Standards of Care in Diabetes defines obesity as a disease, which means obesity results from a mixture of behavioral, environmental, and genetic factors—not just from lifestyle. That means there's more to managing it than lifestyle changes like healthy eating and exercise.

One of the ways to learn more about your weight and if you may have obesity is with the body mass index (BMI)—which measures your weight against your height. But your BMI is just one piece of information, not the whole picture. To understand your risk for medical conditions like obesity and diabetes, we need to look at other factors along with your BMI.

Some of our researchers are hard at work to identify what causes obesity and how to best to provide obesity care. But what we do know is that obesity care for each person is as unique as they are. There is no one-size-fits-all approach and there are many options that can be tailored to your needs.

Don't Miss Out On Our Upcoming Virtual Events

Ask The Experts

Ask the Experts: How to Have a Conversation about Obesity Care with Your Health Care Provider

Thursday, September 19, 2024
08:00 P.M. EST

Join us virtually to learn how to navigate and address your or a loved one’s obesity care with your health care provider. We will discuss questions to ask, ways to self-advocate, and treatment options.

Come prepared with your questions and get answers from diabetes experts, or simply listen in to the conversation.

Your Healthy Living Options

Beyond diabetes, the ADA offers a vast range of resources to support you alongside your obesity care journey. Talk with your health care provider about the obesity care options that work best for you, which will most likely be a mixture of healthy eating, physical activity, medication, surgery, emotional health, and lifestyle changes.

  • Healthy Eating

  • Physical Activity

  • Medication

  • Surgery

  • Emotional Health

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Moving throughout your day will give you more energy; lower your risk for obesity, type 2 diabetes, and cardiovascular disease; and improve your blood glucose (blood sugar) and cholesterol levels. Breaking up sitting time with short bursts of movement every 30 minutes, such as walking in place for a few minutes, can reduce health risks and improve your overall wellbeing. 

Always speak to your health care provider before starting an exercise routine to accompany your treatment and management plan.

Here are a few resources to jumpstart or maintain your fitness journey:


Physical Activity Video Series

Warm Up Exercises
2 months 1 week ago
Lower Body Exercises
2 months 1 week ago
Upper Body Exercises
2 months 1 week ago
Core Exercises
2 months 1 week ago
See More
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In combination with healthy lifestyle changes, medication can be a game-changer for obesity care. Anti-obesity medications work by making you feel less hungry and keeping you feeling full for longer. They can also help manage your blood glucose. Some common anti-obesity medications approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) are:

  • Bupropion-naltrexone (Contrave)
  • Liraglutide (Saxenda)
  • Orlistat (Xenical, Alli)
  • Phentermine-topiramate (Qsymia)
  • Semaglutide (Wegovy)
  • Setmelanotide (Imcivree)
  • Tirzepatide (Zepbound)

These medications all require a prescription from your health care provider, so at your next visit, discuss your obesity care goals and if one of these medications is right for you. 

Heavy middle-aged man talking to nurse in examination room

Surgeries that are a part of obesity care can help by either making your stomach smaller so you cannot eat as much, or by lowering the number of calories your body can absorb. 

The three most common types of obesity care surgeries performed in the U.S. are:

  • Gastric sleeve
  • Gastric bypass
  • Adjustable gastric band

Remember, even after you have surgery, you’ll still need to have an obesity care plan you create with your health care provider. This could be a combination of medication and managing lifestyle. 

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Living with obesity takes a toll on more than just your body—it’s emotional too. Dealing with daily tasks like moving throughout your day, juggling your appointments, and following an eating plan can be overwhelming and emotionally draining. 

Remember, you’re not alone in your health journey. Ask for help and resources from your health care team when you feel overwhelmed. They can refer you to behavioral health resources that will help you cope with emotional and mental challenges that can come with obesity.

There are also ways to simplify your busy routine. For example, using a food delivery service, setting virtual appointments, making simpler meals, and other tips can help lighten your mental load.

 Simplify Your Routine

Obesity Myths

You may have heard a few things about obesity that aren’t true—but we’re here to set the record straight.

Obesity is a disease—which means obesity occurs from a mixture of behavioral, environmental, and genetic factors—not just from lifestyle—and its treatment should be taken as seriously as other medical conditions (like diabetes, heart disease, and kidney disease).

While eating unhealthily and not being active can contribute to gaining weight, they’re not the only factors. Obesity occurs from genetics (if a family member has it), certain medications, other medical and mental health conditions, and social factors that are beyond your control.

Willpower is not a reason for obesity. Managing obesity has to do with access to the medical care needed to manage the condition. There is no single approach to losing weight that will work for everyone. Two people following the same weight-loss plan can lose different amounts of weight, even if they are eating the same foods and doing the same exercises. This is because everyone’s body reacts to food and physical activity in different ways—but it doesn’t mean one person is working harder than the other. 

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How to Talk to Your Health Care Provider

The conversations you have with your health care provider are essential to creating an obesity care plan that works with your lifestyle. The next time you’re at your medical appointment, follow the formula of asking the right questions, being honest, and being open to making small changes that are enough to make a big difference.

Supportive male physician talking to overweight man in examination room

Obesity Advocacy

The ADA is a leader in advocating for the rights of people with obesity. Working at the state and federal levels and in the halls of Congress, we are fighting to:

  • Improve access to person-centered obesity care. 
  • Eliminate burdensome requirements and barriers to access for obesity care.
  • Ensure person-centered choices for obesity care is prioritized.
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For Health Care Professionals

Arm yourself with the knowledge and skills you need to treat people with obesity. Discover a wealth of tools and resources to enhance your competencies in obesity care and management in our vast library of resources.

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lillylogo is proud to support the work of the American Diabetes Association® to address obesity.