"Obesity is a Medically Approachable Problem" and Other Lessons with Lee Kaplan, MD, PhD

The evidence that obesity is pathophysiologic dysfunction in the human body places it squarely in the realm of chronic disease, according to obesity specialist Kaplan. Let’s treat it accordingly.

“People know that you can lose weight by not eating but that doesn’t mean you can maintain it by continuing to not eat…We have to look at obesity as a medically approachable problem—because that’s what it is. Obesity fits squarely into the realm of chronic noncommunicable diseases that we don’t cure, but we control them.”

Lee Kaplan, MD, PhD, associate professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School and highly respected specialist in obesity medicine, spoke recently with Patient Care Online, about the need for education for patients, clinicians, for all interested parties—on the irrefutable evidence that obesity is pathophysiologic dysfunction in the human body that dieting, exercise, and willpower will not correct. He also emphasizes the very important distinction to be made between the "cultural desire for thinness" and the disease of obesity.

Kaplan spoke with senior editor Grace Halsey during ObesityWeek 2021.


Lee M. Kaplan, MD, PhD, is associate professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School and director of both the Obesity, Metabolism & Nutrition Institute and the Obesity Medicine Fellowship Program at Massachusetts General Hospital. He is the chair of the US Obesity Medicine Fellowship Council, Director of the Blackburn Course in Obesity Medicine, and a past president of The Obesity Society.