Obesity is a global epidemic that affects people of every age group, race, and socioeconomic background. According to a 2022 World Health Organization study, 2.5 billion adults (over 18) globally were considered overweight, and eight hundred and ninety million of them were obese at the time.

Even though it might seem like there's no way out of the obesity epidemic, there is still hope. Physical therapy treatment can be beneficial for obesity. At Suarez Physical Therapy, we provide a wide range of obesity treatment alternatives, such as low-calorie diets, exercise, changes in behavior, medication, and surgical interventions.

If you are obese or overweight, our Las Vegas physiotherapists can create personalized exercise regimens that will help control your weight, avoid becoming obese, or reverse the symptoms of obesity.

An Overview of Obesity

Obesity is a medical condition characterized by an excessive amount of fat in the body. Being obese is more than simply an appearance problem. It is a medical condition that raises the risk of multiple other conditions and complications. Some examples of these conditions are high blood pressure, diabetes, liver disease, certain cancers, and sleep apnea.

There are many explanations for why some individuals struggle with obesity. Genetics, external factors, diet, physical activity, and lifestyle can contribute to obesity.

Fortunately, even a slight weight reduction can help mitigate or even avoid the health issues linked to obesity. You can reduce your weight by adopting new behaviors, eating more nutritious foods, and exercising more. Other choices for managing obesity include prescription medications as well as weight-loss techniques.

The Symptoms Of Obesity

BMI, or body mass index, is frequently used to diagnose obesity. Most people can estimate their body fat using their BMI. However, body fat is not directly measured by BMI. Some individuals, like physically fit athletes, can be classified as obese by BMI even when they do not have excessive body fat.

Many medical experts additionally take a patient's waist measurement, known as the waist circumference, when making treatment recommendations. Men with a waist circumference over 40 inches or 102 centimeters are likelier to experience weight-related health issues.

Women with waist measurements over 35 inches or 89 cm are more likely to have weight-related issues. The body's fat percentage is another indicator that can be used to monitor progress in an exercise regimen to lose weight.

Diagnosing Obesity

Your medical professional could conduct a physical examination and suggest certain tests to diagnose obesity. Common examinations and tests for these include:

  • Obtaining your medical history
  • Determining your Body Mass Index
  • A standard physical examination
  • Examining additional health issues
  • Measuring the size of your waist

This knowledge will help you and your medical team decide on the best course of treatment.

Risk Factors For Obesity

Obesity often has multiple underlying contributing factors and causes:

Family Influences And Inheritance

Genetic makeup may impact body fat's quantity, distribution, and accumulation. The efficiency with which your body breaks down food into energy, controls your appetite, or burns calories when you exercise are all potential areas where genetics may come into play.

Obesity runs in families. Their similar genetic makeup is not the only reason for that. Families also often have similar dietary and fitness practices.

Lifestyle choices

Certain lifestyle choices could raise your risk of being obese:

  • Poor eating habits—obese people tend to eat a lot of fast food, drink a lot of sugary drinks, and eat too many calories per day, all of which lead to excessive body fat accumulation
  • Liquid calories—it is possible to consume large amounts of calories—especially those from alcohol—without feeling full. Soft drinks with added sugar and other high-calorie drinks can also make you put on extra pounds
  • Inactivity—when you lead a sedentary lifestyle, consuming more calories each day is easier than what you burn off through regular exercise and daily tasks. Staring at your television, phones, tablets, and computers is a form of inactivity. There is a strong correlation between screen time and obesity

Certain Conditions And Medications

Certain medical conditions, including hypothyroidism, Prader-Willi syndrome, Cushing syndrome, and others, have been linked to obesity in certain individuals. Medical conditions like arthritis can also cause people to be less active, leading to an increase in weight.

Failing to make dietary or physical activity adjustments while taking some medications may cause weight gain. These medications include beta blockers, steroids, certain antidepressants, anti-seizure medications, diabetic medications, and antipsychotic medications.

Economic And Social Problems

Obesity is related to both economic and social factors. If you do not have access to secure areas where you can stroll or exercise, it will be difficult to avoid becoming obese. Your weight may also be influenced by the people you spend time with. If you have friends or family who are obese, you are more likely to become obese yourself.


Childhood obesity is also a real possibility. However, as you get older, hormonal fluctuations and a sedentary lifestyle raise your chance of obesity. Your body's muscular mass likewise starts to decline. Decreased muscular mass frequently results in a slower metabolism.

Such changes may also lessen the need for calories and make it more difficult to lose extra pounds. If you fail to manage your diet and actively raise your physical activity level, you will probably gain weight as you age.

Additional Factors

  • Pregnancy—gaining weight is typical during pregnancy. A lot of women struggle to shed this extra weight after giving birth. A woman's risk of becoming obese may increase due to this weight gain
  • Giving up smoking—weight gain is frequently linked to quitting smoking. And it could cause some people to put on weight to the point where they are considered obese. This often occurs when people turn to food as a coping mechanism for their smoking cessation. However, generally, stopping smoking still has a bigger positive impact on one's wellness than keeping up with smoking. Medical professionals can assist you in avoiding gaining weight after stopping smoking
  • Stress—numerous environmental factors that affect one's state of mind and overall well-being could contribute to obesity. When under stress, people generally seek out high-calorie foods
  • Lack of sleep—hormone changes brought on by insufficient sleep might enhance appetite. Too much sleep could also have the same effect. You might also crave meals that are heavy in fat and calories, which can cause becoming overweight
  • Your gut's microbiome—your diet has an impact on the composition of the gut bacteria, which may lead to additional weight or difficulty losing weight

Although you have a couple of the above risk factors, this does not imply that you will develop obesity. Staying active, eating a healthy diet, treating obesity, taking medications, and changing your lifestyle can all help counteract many risk factors.

Obesity Complications

Individuals who are obese have an increased risk of several potentially dangerous health issues, such as:

  • Strokes and heart disease—being overweight increases your chances of high blood pressure and high levels of cholesterol, both of which are linked to strokes and heart disease
  • Certain cancers—a person's chance of developing cancer in the cervix, uterus, ovary, endometrium, colon, breast, rectum, liver, esophagus, kidney, gallbladder, pancreas, and prostate may increase if they are obese
  • Type 2 diabetes—a person's ability to use insulin to regulate their sugar levels may be impaired if they are overweight. This heightens the likelihood of diabetes and insulin resistance
  • Digestive issues—being obese raises the risk of liver issues, gallbladder disease, and heartburn
  • Osteoarthritis—extra weight puts more strain on joints that hold our bodies' weight. In addition, it encourages inflammation, characterized by pain, swelling, and a warm sensation throughout the body. Such factors could result in complications like osteoarthritis
  • Sleep apnea—obesity increases the risk of sleep apnea, which is a potentially dangerous condition in which breathing stops and resumes repeatedly while a person is asleep
  • Non-Alcoholic Fatty liver disease—fat deposits in the liver cause a condition known as fatty liver disease, which is made more likely by obesity. This could sometimes result in liver failure/cirrhosis, a condition that damages the liver.

Treating Obesity

The aim of obesity treatment is to assist patients in achieving and sustaining a healthy body weight. This enhances general well-being and reduces the likelihood of developing issues related to obesity.

Working with healthcare professionals, like physical therapists, nutritionists, behavioral counselors, or obesity specialists, may be necessary to facilitate understanding and change in dietary and physical activity patterns.

The initial objective of treatment usually involves achieving a moderate weight reduction, specifically targeting a range between five and ten percent of your whole body weight. Therefore, if your weight is 200 pounds, losing approximately 10 to 20 pounds could be enough to improve your health. However, the benefits increase as you lose weight.

To lose weight, one must change one's dietary habits and increase physical activity. Your weight, general health, and willingness to adhere to a weight-loss regimen will determine your most appropriate treatment program.

Dietary Changes

Reducing calorie intake and practicing healthy dietary habits are crucial for treating obesity. Although weight reduction can occur quickly, most people consider steady and gradual weight loss as a secure approach to losing weight in the long run. It is also the most effective way to lose weight permanently.

There is no perfect diet for losing weight. Choose a diet plan with nutritious foods you believe will benefit your body. Some of the dietary changes for treating obesity include:

  • Reducing calorie intake
  • Feeling satisfied with less food
  • Making healthier decisions
  • Restricting or avoiding specific foods
  • Substitutes for meals

Exercise caution when considering quick solutions. You could feel enticed by trendy diets that guarantee easy and quick weight loss. However, the truth is that neither quick fixes nor miracle meals exist. Fad diets might be beneficial in the short run, but they don't work any better in the long run than other diet plans.

Similarly, crash diets can cause weight loss. However, once you stop following them, you will likely gain weight. Embracing long-term healthy eating habits is essential to achieve and sustain weight loss.

Physical Activity and Exercise

Incorporating more workouts or physical exercises is a crucial part of treating obesity. These include the following:

  • Exercise

Obese people should participate in at least 2 hours of moderate-intensity weekly workouts. This could help maintain minor weight loss or prevent additional weight gain. As your fitness and endurance improve, you will likely need to increase your workout frequency gradually.

  • Maintain your Momentum

Although a regular aerobic workout is ideal for burning calories and losing weight, any additional physical activity helps. For example, you can park far away from retail entrances and use the stairs rather than the elevator. Pedometers can count the number of steps you take throughout the day. Many individuals strive to achieve 10,000 steps per day. You can increase your daily step count gradually to achieve your goal.

How a Physical Therapist Can Help

Physiotherapists use up-to-date research findings to develop treatment plans tailored to your needs and objectives. Engaging a professional physiotherapist can assist you in:

  • Manage your body weight and avoid obesity
  • Create a plan to address issues limiting your ability to stay active. A physical therapist will guide you through fun, pain-free exercise techniques
  • Safely increase your level of physical activity. The proper types and amounts of exercise are crucial

Your First Physical Therapy Visit

Your physiotherapist will perform a thorough evaluation. This could involve obtaining your medical history. The main goal of your first visit is to learn about your health and its effect on your daily routine and overall quality of life. Once your physical therapist has identified the problem, they can discuss the objectives.

Your first physical therapy visit will include the following:

  • Calculation of your Body Mass Index (BMI) using your weight and height
  • Measuring the circumference of your waist and the thickness of your skinfold
  • Calculating the percentage of fat in your body
  • An evaluation of the body's weight and body mass index (BMI) to establish achievable objectives and monitor your progress
  • Evaluate your physical mobility, including flexibility, endurance, strength, and range of motion

In addition, your physical therapist can work with a doctor or other medical practitioners. Your doctor can ask for more diagnostic tests to dismiss the possibility of other underlying medical issues. Physical therapists offer safe and effective workout programs to assist patients of various ages and capabilities. They can help patients achieve the recommended level of exercise. Having a fun workout routine can also guide you in making better dietary choices.

Physical therapists are also qualified to address the underlying causes of unhealthy habits. They can assist you in:

  • Identifying and overcoming obstacles that hinder engagement in physical exercise
  • Developing healthy habits
  • Setting personal objectives
  • Sticking to your plan by adopting healthy habits

Benefits of Using Physical Therapy for Obesity Management

The benefits of consulting a physical therapist to address obesity include the following:

Alleviate Pain

A physiotherapist can show you how to carry out exercises safely and with as little pain as possible. Increasing physical activity can alleviate pain. Therefore, a physical therapist can create a plan to facilitate increased mobility.

Improves your Cardiovascular Fitness

A physical therapist can develop a heart-healthy aerobic workout plan for you. This program aims to enhance your metabolism and help you burn calories. A physical therapist can help individuals of all ages, including those with disabilities, engage in aerobic activities tailored to their comfort.

Improves Strength

Physical therapists can help you enhance your muscular strength and aerobic capacity. Both strength and aerobic training help with weight management and weight loss.

A physical therapist can guide you through exercises specifically targeting muscle weakness or enhancing strength. Developing muscle strength allows you to:

  • Burn more calories
  • Make daily tasks easier
  • Alleviates joint pain
  • Resistance training with elastic bands, which is gentle and low-impact, can help prevent joint stress

Improve Your Range of Motion

A physical therapist can recommend specific exercises and therapies to help restore regular movement to rigid joints. These movements could begin with passive movements performed by a physical therapist. Afterward, you will advance to carrying out active physical activities.

Enhances Flexibility and Body Posture

A physical therapist can assess the rigidity of the muscles and instruct you on how to perform gentle stretching exercises to alleviate the tightness. They can also evaluate your body posture and guide you in activities to enhance your ability to retain good posture. Proper posture can enhance the ease and comfort of handling strenuous tasks while improving respiratory function.

Increased Level of Physical Activity

A physical therapist can help you set and achieve physical activity objectives. They can develop a safe treatment plan that meets your needs to help you achieve your targets as quickly and effectively as possible.

Selecting a Physical Therapist for Obesity Treatment

It is essential to select a physical therapist who possesses the expertise and knowledge required to treat effectively those who are obese or at risk of becoming obese. You can ask friends, coworkers, or family members who have successfully managed their obesity and undergone physical therapy for recommendations.

Take note of these recommendations and arrange a meeting to find out the therapist's background in managing obese patients. Ensure you write down any symptoms noticed during your visit and specify when they are serious so the physical therapist can eliminate or reduce them.

Find a Las Vegas Physical Therapist Near Me

Physical therapy is a good option for treating obesity. A physiotherapist can help increase your physical activity levels by teaching you ways to engage in fun and painless exercise techniques. Your physical therapist can also introduce safe workouts and assist you in addressing the root cause of your condition. This helps you build healthier habits and establish achievable goals. If you need assistance losing weight or treating obesity, visit us at Suarez Physical Therapy in Las Vegas or call us today at 702-368-6778.