2.7 Treatments for obesity
At this point you may be wondering what the range of studies that we have examined might suggest in terms of treatment for obesity. As you have seen, weight gain essentially arises from an imbalance of energy supply and energy expenditure. Therefore it is not surprising that dieting (restriction of energy input) and exercise (increased energy output) are recommended both to reduce body weight and also for their additional health benefits. However, even a quick survey of the research literature makes it clear that dieting is not very effective in the medium or long term as a method of reducing body weight. People find it hard to be compliant with a particular diet, and are also poor at simply recalling what they have eaten. Thus, food diaries are a notoriously inaccurate way of estimating an individual's total food intake. In addition, reduction of food intake, especially with a low-fat diet, may be associated with a depression of metabolic rate that restricts the actual amount of weight that is lost.