Weight-loss devices: How they work

Stomach balloons and other devices may help people eat (or absorb) less food. But does the weight loss last?

For the millions of Americans who have obesity, the burden of excess weight is much more than meets the eye. This chronic, debilitating condition leaves people prone to many serious illnesses, including heart disease. But for many, diet and exercise often prove frustratingly futile (see "What's a healthy weight?")

What's a healthy weight?

The body mass index (BMI) estimates whether a person has a healthy (normal) or unhealthy amount of body fat (overweight or obesity). Calculate yours at www.health.harvard.edu/bmi. Weight-loss devices are approved for people who fall into the obesity category.

To continue reading this article, you must login.
  • Research health conditions
  • Check your symptoms
  • Prepare for a doctor's visit or test
  • Find the best treatments and procedures for you
  • Explore options for better nutrition and exercise
Learn more about the many benefits and features of joining Harvard Health Online »