Despite advances in understanding the roles of adiposity, food intake, GI and adipocyte-related hormones, inflammatory mediators, the gut-brain axis and the hypothalamic nervous system in the pathophysiology of obesity, the effects of different therapeutic interventions on those pathophysiological mechanisms are controversial. There are still no low-cost, safe, effective treatments for obesity and its complications. Currently, bariatric surgical approaches targeting the GI tract are more effective than non-surgical approaches in inducing weight reduction and resolving obesity-related comorbidities. However, current guidelines emphasise non-surgical approaches through lifestyle modification and medications to achieve slow weight loss, which is not usually sustained and may be associated with medication-related side effects. This review analyses current central, peripheral or hormonal targets to treat obesity and addresses challenges and opportunities to develop novel approaches for obesity.
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