New Comprehensive Review Reveals Optimal Strategies for Weight Loss

Recent systematic reviews spanning medical literature from 2020 to 2024 have pinpointed significant variations in weight loss outcomes across diverse treatment approaches. Presented at the 2024 Annual Scientific Meeting of the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery (ASMBS), these findings underscore the effectiveness of bariatric surgery compared to GLP-1 receptor agonists and lifestyle modifications.

According to the research, lifestyle interventions like diet and exercise typically resulted in an average weight loss of 7.4%, which, however, was often regained within approximately 4.1 years. In contrast, treatments involving GLP-1 medications yielded more substantial initial weight loss: semaglutide injections led to a 10.6% reduction over five months, and tirzepatide achieved a notable 21.1% decrease over nine months. Nonetheless, cessation of treatment saw about half of the lost weight returning within a year, regardless of the drug used.

Metabolic and bariatric surgeries, such as gastric bypass and sleeve gastrectomy, showcased the most remarkable and enduring results. One year post-surgery, patients experienced total weight loss percentages of 31.9% and 29.5%, respectively. Impressively, these procedures maintained weight reductions of around 25% even up to a decade following surgery.

Dr. Marina Kurian from NYU Langone Health emphasized, “Metabolic and bariatric surgery remains the most effective and durable treatment for severe obesity,” advocating for its earlier consideration rather than as a last resort. Despite its efficacy, however, such surgeries are underutilized, with only a small fraction of eligible individuals opting for them.

The study encompassed a meticulous review of data from numerous clinical trials and studies involving approximately 20,000 patients, aiming to provide comprehensive insights into the optimal strategies for managing obesity. The findings underscore the critical need for broader adoption of metabolic and bariatric surgeries alongside advancements in pharmaceutical treatments to address the escalating prevalence of obesity-related health issues in the U.S.

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