Obesity Treatment in Northern New Jersey

Bare feet getting ready to step on scaleMany people struggle with their weight, and the medical team at Bergen Medical Associates wants to make sure all patients are healthy. Obesity or being overweight can lead to many health problems, especially as a patient ages.

Patients seeking obesity treatment can see our team of endocrinology and metabolism specialists and primary care specialists at Bergen Medical Associates. With locations across northern New Jersey, we are conveniently located to give patients access to quality healthcare.

What Is Obesity?

Obesity is a condition in which someone has excessive fat deposits. It is considered a chronic complex disease and can cause other health issues throughout a patient’s life. According to the World Health Organization, 2.5 billion adults were considered overweight in 2022, and 890 million adults worldwide were considered obese. That means 43% of the world’s population is considered overweight.

What Is the Body Mass Index?

The body mass index, or BMI, is how healthcare professionals calculate whether a person is obese or not. The BMI equals weight/height2. For most adults, a BMI of:

  • 5 to 24.9 means they are a healthy weight
  • 25 to 29.9 means they are overweight
  • 30 to 39.9 means they are obese
  • 40 or above means they are severely obese

Obesity is divided into the categories below:

  • Class 1: BMI of 30 to < 35
  • Class 2: BMI of 35 to < 40
  • Class 3: BMI of 40 or higher. Class 3 obesity is sometimes categorized as “severe” obesity.

If a person’s BMI is near 25, healthcare professionals may suggest losing weight to get to an appropriate healthy weight.

What Are the Causes of Obesity?

Obesity is caused by consuming more calories than are being burned during physical activity. Other causes of obesity include:

  • Poor diet: A poor diet is a leading cause of obesity over time. People should avoid:
    • Eating processed foods
    • Drinking too much alcohol
    • Frequently dining out
    • Eating large portions
    • Drinking sugary drinks
    • Comfort eating
  • Lack of physical activity: Adults should get at least 150 minutes of moderately intense aerobic activity a week, like cycling or fast walking.
  • Genetics: There are rare genetic conditions that can cause obesity, and some genetic traits can be inherited, like having a large appetite.
  • Medical reasons: There are medical conditions that can cause someone to gain weight:
    • Hypothyroidism: A condition where the thyroid does not produce enough hormones.
    • Cushing’s syndrome: A disorder that causes the overproduction of steroid hormones.
  • Medication: Some types of medication can cause weight gain in some people. If someone is concerned their medication is causing them to gain weight, they should speak with their healthcare providers.

What Are the Risks of Obesity?

If someone is overweight, it can lead to a variety of other health problems, including:

  • Cancer
  • Coronary heart disease
  • Stroke
  • Type 2 diabetes

Obesity can also cause psychological problems, like depression and low self-esteem.

What Are the Symptoms of Obesity?

Obesity can cause a person to have difficulty with daily tasks. Some of the daily problems someone with obesity can face include:

  • Breathlessness
  • Difficulty with physical activity
  • Feeling isolated
  • Increased sweating
  • Joint and back pain
  • Often feeling very tired
  • Snoring

How Is Obesity Treated?

The most efficient way to treat obesity is to lose weight. Healthcare professionals may also recommend the following treatments for obesity,

Healthy Lifestyle Changes

To help aim for and maintain a healthy weight, a healthcare provider may recommend that the patient adopt lifelong healthy lifestyle changes. A 5% to 10% weight loss can significantly improve health and quality of life.

Choose Heart-Healthy Foods

It is important to eat the right number of calories to maintain a healthy weight. If someone needs to lose weight, they should try to reduce total daily calories gradually. The DASH Eating Plan can help a person determine their daily calorie needs and set goals. Start by viewing healthy recipes and plans for success, including talking with a healthcare provider before beginning any diet or eating plan.

Get Regular Physical Activity

Many health benefits are associated with physical activity and getting the recommended amount of physical activity needed each week. Before starting any exercise program, ask a healthcare provider about what level of physical activity is right for you.

Get Enough Good-Quality Sleep

Research has shown a relationship between lack of sleep and obesity that begins as early as infancy. Experts recommend seven to eight hours of sleep per night for adults.

Behavior Weight Loss Programs

Research has shown that areas of a person’s brain respond to pleasure and a chemical messenger is released whenever this part of the brain is stimulated by something they enjoy, like eating food. Research shows that these connections may be stronger in some people than in others, which may explain why some people have a harder time losing weight.

Individual or group behavioral weight-loss programs are run by people who understand those brain connections. In these programs, one or more trained healthcare professionals will work with the patient to develop a customized weight-loss plan. The plan will likely include a reduced-calorie diet, physical activity goals, and behavioral strategies to help the person make and maintain these lifestyle changes.

When choosing a behavioral weight loss program, consider whether the program:

  • Offers the service of multiple professionals, such as registered dietitians, doctors, nurses, psychologists, and exercise physiologists
  • Provides goals that have been customized for each person and considers the types of food they like, their eating schedule, their physical fitness, and their overall health
  • Provides individual or group counseling to help someone change their eating patterns and personal unhealthy habits
  • Teaches long-term strategies to deal with problems that can lead to future weight gain, such as stress or slipping back into unhealthy habits

Other things to consider when selecting a weight loss program include:

  • How many people have successfully completed the program
  • The average weight loss for people who finish the program
  • Possible side effects or risks
  • Fees or costs for additional items, such as dietary supplements


When healthy lifestyle changes are not enough, a healthcare provider may treat obesity with medicines. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved several medicines for weight loss or management. These medicines target different parts of the body. However, weight loss medications are not recommended as a single treatment for weight loss. The medications should be combined with healthy lifestyle changes.

What Are the Surgical Options for Treating Obesity?

Sometimes, people do not lose weight by making healthy lifestyle changes or taking medicines. If someone’s BMI is 35 or greater and they are at risk for obesity-related complications, they may be eligible for surgery. Different types of weight-loss or bariatric surgeries are:

  • Gastrectomy: This is when a big portion of the stomach is removed to reduce the amount of food that someone can eat.
  • Gastric banding: This procedure involves placing a gastric band around the upper part of the stomach to create a smaller stomach.
  • Gastric bypass surgery: In this procedure, a small part of the stomach is connected to the middle part of the intestine, bypassing the first part of the intestine. This reduces the amount of food that someone can eat and the amount of fat that the body can take in and store.

A person’s doctor will discuss all options available to them and determine which course of action would be the best obesity treatment.

Get Started With an Obesity Treatment at Bergen Medical Associates

Patients seeking obesity treatment can see our team of endocrinology and metabolism specialists and primary care specialists at Bergen Medical Associates. The medical team works collaboratively with all the doctors involved in the patient’s care. All health records are electronic, making communication with other physicians easier. Our providers construct treatment plans based on complete information about the patient.

With office locations throughout northern New Jersey, Bergen Medical Associates provides patients with multiple medical specialties, including endocrinology. We have on-site comprehensive care, including diagnostic testing and ambulatory surgical centers when needed. Contact Bergen Medical Associates today to schedule an appointment.