Frequently Asked Questions

How does the Wharton Medical Clinic help address obesity?

Our clinic offers evidence-based medical management of obesity and obesity related conditions. Although lifestyle changes are an important part of this process, just like with any medical condition, often lifestyle changes alone are not enough to properly manage a condition. You should be prepared to discuss the use of medication and bariatric surgery if you are eligible.

How much weight can I expect to lose?

We do not focus on weight loss. Weight is a complicated measure, that can increase and decrease for a variety of different reasons—some of which are positive for health, while others are negative. Our goal is to help patients find their best weight, a weight at which they feel comfortable with the changes they have made and how they feel about themselves. Some of our patients do not lose any weight at all.

What is the criteria to be referred to the clinic?

Patients MUST have a body mass index (BMI) of between 27 and 30 kg/m2 AND pre-diabetes or Type 2 diabetes OR a BMI of 30 kg/m2 or greater (with no other medical conditions required).

Will the clinic help with any other conditions I have?

The clinic may address any obesity-related conditions patients may have, such as diabetes or high blood pressure, but eating disorders will not be diagnosed or treated.

What should I bring to my first appointment?

Please bring your health card and a list of any medications you are currently taking to your first appointment. You will also be asked about your medical history, so it may be helpful to write down anything you wish to discuss ahead of time.

What testing can I expect?

Most patients receive standard testing at the clinic, including tests for liver enzymes, cholesterol and blood glucose. Depending on results, further testing may be ordered. The clinic does not do hormone testing.

What kind of research is conducted at WMC?

Does the extra treatment(s) provided as part of the research cost me anything?

Patients who are enrolled in some studies could receive new or cutting-edge treatments, and while weight management medications typically come with a cost to the patient, some studies will provide these, as well as newer and potentially better versions of medications, for free.

What are some other benefits of participating in research?

People who enroll in studies that involve some type of treatment often receive better management of their medical condition because they are monitored by study staff and can receive additional treatment. Playing a role in research can also help not only yourself, but also others, by furthering the understanding of the management and treatment of obesity.

Can I have a virtual meeting with one of the clinic’s physicians?

At the start of the program, patients will have the option to choose either in-person care in our Burlington clinic OR virtual care via video. Patients must select ONE of these formats when they start at the clinic, and continue to receive these types of appointments throughout their time at the Wharton Medical Clinic. There is no phone option for appointments.

What is bariatric surgery?

Bariatric surgery, also called weight loss surgery, is a category of surgical operations used to help people with obesity lose weight. Bariatric surgery procedures work by modifying your digestive system—usually your stomach, and sometimes also your small intestine—to regulate how many calories you can consume and absorb. They can also reduce the hunger signals that travel from your digestive system to your brain. It requires preparation beforehand and long-term lifestyle changes afterward. In Ontario, publicly funded bariatric surgeries (OHIP covered) are processed by the Ontario Bariatric Network (OBN). Any physician in Ontario can refer patients to the OBN. The Wharton Medical Clinic works in close consultation with the OBN to refer eligible patients that we are seeing in our program. Patients who meet the eligibility criteria are then assigned to a surgical center in Ontario (Bariatric Centre of Excellence or Regionals and Treatment Centre). Bariatric surgery can include gastric bypass or sleeve gastrectomy.

For more information on OHIP covered bariatric surgery and eligibility criteria please visit

In Ontario, private clinics also offer gastric sleeve surgery and have teams of surgeons who specialize in this procedure. Eligibility criteria for private clinics may vary from the OBN criteria. Costs for this procedure will also vary from clinic to clinic; most private clinics will offer patients a free consultation.

The Wharton Medical Clinic does not perform bariatric surgery, however we will discuss bariatric surgery and refer patients to bariatric surgery as appropriate.

Will I be given a personalized meal plan to follow?

You will NOT be given a personalized meal plan to follow as meal plans can make it more difficult to develop the skills necessary to continue eating healthier once you leave the clinic. Instead, you will be given tools and information that will help you make healthier food choices more often. This will help you lower your calories naturally while learning how to make meaningful changes to your diet.

Are your services covered by OHIP?

Visits with our doctors are covered by OHIP, but any medications prescribed are the responsibility of the patient. Some patients may be able to receive new medications at no cost if they are eligible to enroll in a research study at the Wharton Medical Clinic.

How long will I be treated at the clinic?

Patients typically attend our clinic for about a year. After this, they are transitioned back to their primary care provider. Patients can be referred back to our clinic if further specialized care is required.

Will I be able to meet one-on-one with a dietitian or counsellor ?

Patients will only have one-on-one consultation with these professionals if our physicians feel it is necessary based on their medical history

Do I have to be involved in research?

Patients at the Wharton Medical Clinic are under no obligation to participate in research. Declining to participate in any research project or enrolling and then changing your mind later about being involved in a research project, will have no impact on care. Most of the time, doctors are not aware that a patient is participating in a research study unless the patient chooses to disclose it, or if they have to be made aware as part of their care (for example, if the patient enrolled in a weight management medication trial).

How is my personal data protected?

Patients who enrol to receive care at the Wharton Medical Clinic will be provided with a consent form as part of their baseline package to allow access to the data collected as part of their time at the clinic for research purposes.Data collected as part of medical appointments will be de-anonymized (which means that any information that could be used to identify you will be removed) and will only be provided to qualified researchers who have permission to use the data. It will also be securely stored to ensure that no one other than the approved researchers have access to it.

How can I get involved in research?

If you would like to know if you qualify for these types of studies, email Wharton Medical Clinic Clinical Trials at