Dr. Sean Wharton, the founder and medical director of the clinic, is passionate about conducting research that improves the understanding of managing and treating obesity, in addition to providing care to patients.

He has published considerable research related to the management and treatment of obesity, including co-leading the current Canadian clinical practice guidelines for the prevention and treatment of obesity in adults. To read these studies, click here. If you are interested in clinical trials that are going on around the world, visit

Patients are eligible to participate in research while receiving care at—and even after they leave—the Wharton Medical Clinic, either actively or passively.

What does active participation in research mean?

Patients who are eligible for research studies may be contacted to participate. These studies could include following a specific type of diet (like intermittent fasting) or taking a medication to manage or treat a chronic condition, which may or not be provided at no cost. Participation in a clinical trial may also require following specific instructions. If you would like to know if you qualify for these types of studies, email the clinic by clicking here.

What does passive participation in research mean?

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. Patients who agree to this will NOT have to undergo any additional tests or have to do anything else in addition to their treatment.

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.

Data that thousands of patients from the Wharton Medical Clinic have consented to be used for research purposes have been used to help us understand more about the management and treatment of obesity. Some important questions we have tackled have included: Can patients taking mental health medications that are known to cause weight gain still lose weight? Can weight management medications help patients who have received bariatric surgery lose weight? and Are some diets better than others for losing weight?

Important considerations related to 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).

There are, however, several benefits to participating in research. For example, 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, to patients for free. In addition, 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. Finally, participating in research can help not only yourself, but also others, by furthering the understanding of the management and treatment of obesity.