What Kind of Doctor Specializes in Weight Loss?

Weight loss can be physically and emotionally exhausting, particularly if your weight poses a threat to your health. Obesity is a risk factor for a variety of conditions including heart attack and joint problems. If you've tried losing weight on your own without success, a doctor specializing in weight loss can help you develop a plan to lose weight safely. Weight loss usually begins with your family physician, who can make basic nutrition and exercise recommendations and offer you a referral to a specialist.

General Practitioner

Your general practitioner -- commonly called a family physician -- should be your starting point for weight loss help, particularly if you only need to lose a few pounds. Ask your doctor for guidelines about healthy weight loss for your age and medical condition, appropriate exercises and if there are any foods you should eliminate from your diet. If you are obese or experiencing extreme difficulty losing weight, your family physician can give you a referral to a specialist.

Bariatric Physician

Doctors That Specialize in Fitness & Nutrition

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Bariatric physicians study obesity, its causes and its prevention. A bariatric physician is well-equipped to provide you with in-depth nutritional information and information about exercise. If you are morbidly obese, exercise can carry some additional risks. Your bariatric physician can advise you about how to minimize these risks. Bariatric surgeons are a subset of bariatric physicians who perform weight loss surgery. If your weight loss efforts are failing and you need to lose weight to remain healthy, your physician may refer you to a bariatric surgeon for a consultation about weight loss surgery.


Endocrinology is the study of glands and the hormones that secrete them. A variety of hormonal conditions can contribute to obesity. These include hypothyroidism, polycystic ovary syndrome and Cushing's disease. If you suffer from an endocrine system-related disorder, your doctor may refer you to an endocrinologist before referring you to a weight loss specialist or advising dietary changes.


Calorie Reduction for the Morbidly Obese

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Dietitians and nutritionists are not typically physicians, but are experts in nutrition. They often have master's or doctoral degrees in nutrition and can advise you about proper diet, how food can affect your overall health and other weight loss issues. Many bariatric medical practices have nutritionists on staff. If you are obese, your doctor may advise you to consult with a nutritionist in conjunction with other weight loss measures.