Dieting and exercise regimes can deliver success, but surgery remains the most effective weight loss treatment for severely obese adults, according to a study by Aberdeen University.
Academics found medical intervention was both the most cost effective and best long-term method of losing weight.
The new research was funded by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) and did, however, conclude that obesity could also be combated effectively through the use of dieting.
Figures showed that over a period of twelve months, very low-calorie diets produced the best non-surgical alternative for cutting down on fat.
Other methods that have been proven to help battle this growing problem, include an increase in physical exercise to help prevent long-term weight gain.
Longer-term help is available in the form of tailored diets or the use of a drug, oralistat, which prevents the breakdown of fat, allowing it to pass undigested through the body.
Researchers also found that the support offered to those battling weight gain was also important, with the use of both telephone and internet support helping to keep the weight off.
Lead author Professor Alison Avenell, from Aberdeen University, said: “The purpose of this study was to examine the available evidence looking at the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of different weight management procedures from the perspective of the NHS.”
Currently the amount of surgery allocated to combat obesity is very low, according to Professor Avenell, who also reported that “Other weight management programmes can be effective in terms of helping people who are severely obese lose weight and are cost-effective for the NHS.”
The latest NHS figures record that obesity is a problem that affects one in every 4 adults and around one in 5 children aged 10 to 11.