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Postgrad Med. 2012 Jul;124(4):168-80. doi: 10.3810/pgm.2012.07.2578.

Lifestyle modifications and surgical options in the treatment of patients with obesity and type 2 diabetes mellitus.

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  • 1Center for Weight and Eating Disorders and Department of Psychiatry, Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA 19104, USA.


This article reviews recent developments in the behavioral and surgical treatment of obesity and type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM). Randomized controlled trials of comprehensive lifestyle-modification programs, which include dietary interventions, physical activity, and behavioral therapy, have shown weight losses of 7% to 10% of initial body weight within 4 to 6 months after treatment. These programs also reduce the likelihood of developing T2DM by 58% for individuals with impaired glucose tolerance. Long-term maintenance of these improvements requires continued implementation of the program diet, physical activity, and self-regulatory behaviors. This can be successfully facilitated by continued patient-provider contact, which is frequently delivered by phone, mail, email, or online. However, these benefits may have less impact on those with extreme obesity or more significant health problems. For these individuals, bariatric surgery may be a more appropriate treatment. Bariatric surgical procedures induce mean weight losses of 15% to 30% of initial body weight (depending on the procedure) within 2 years after surgery, as well as a 45% to 95% rate of diabetes remission. Familiarity with these developments can help physicians and patients to determine which combinations of behavioral, medical, and surgical interventions are appropriate for the treatment of obesity and T2DM.

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