It remains largely unknown as to why some individuals experience substantial weight loss with obesity interventions, while others receiving these same interventions do not. Person-specific characteristics likely play a significant role in this heterogeneity in treatment response. The practice of precision medicine accounts for an individual’s genes, environment, and lifestyle when deciding upon treatment type and intensity in order to optimize benefit and minimize risk. In this review, we first discuss biopsychosocial determinants of obesity, as understanding the complexity of this disease is necessary for appreciating how difficult it is to develop individualized treatment plans. Next, we present literature on person-specific characteristics associated with, and predictive of, weight loss response to various obesity treatments including lifestyle modification, pharmacotherapy, metabolic and bariatric surgery, and medical devices. Finally, we discuss important gaps in our understanding of the causes of obesity in relation to the suboptimal treatment outcomes in certain patients, and offer solutions that may lead to the development of more effective and targeted obesity therapies.


  • anti-obesity agents
  • bariatric surgery
  • obesity
  • obesity etiology
  • precision medicine
  • weight loss

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article
  • Review

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