What We Do and What We Don’t Do

At the Wharton Medical Clinic, patients are provided with the information and tools they need to medically manage obesity. Our doctors will discuss treatment options to support weight management, including the use of medication and bariatric surgery, with patients who meet the criteria for these treatments. Both medication and bariatric surgery are known to be substantially more effective in managing obesity than changes to diet and physical activity alone.

We also recommend and support dietary interventions based on research, such as the Canada Food Guide, to teach patients about lifestyle changes. Please note: Patients will not be given individualized meal plans to follow as current evidence does not support the use of these for obesity management. In fact, a restrictive diet where not medically-indicated can make it more difficult to maintain dietary changes.

What We Do

Obesity is known to have a bidirectional relationship with other conditions, such as diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol. This means that if you have any of these conditions, your risk of obesity increases. Likewise, if you have obesity, you are more likely to develop these additional health issues. In these cases, our doctors may also provide guidance in managing these other conditions.

We offer various group classes that teach patients how to make lifestyle changes to enhance their wellbeing.

If a patient meets the requirements for bariatric surgery and is interested in the procedure, they will be referred to the Ontario Bariatric Network (OBN). The OBN will allocate the bariatric surgical referral to a surgical centre in Ontario. The Wharton Medical Clinic does not perform bariatric surgeries. 

Patients can choose to be seen in person at the Burlington clinic or meet with a physician virtually by video. A patient can select one of these options at the start of their program. There are no phone appointments.

We generally only see patients for about a year and then transition care back to their primary healthcare provider. However, patients can be referred back to our clinic, if necessary.

To be referred, 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 (no other medical conditions required).

Patients must have a referral from an Ontario physician to be treated at the clinic.

What We Don’t Do

We are not an eating disorders program. We do not treat BED or anorexia nervosa or bulimia nervosa. 

We do not provide patients with a goal weight. Weight can go up and down for a variety of reasons that can be positive or negative for your health. Instead, the focus of this clinic is not a number on a scale, but on helping patients discover a healthier lifestyle that makes them feel better. Not all patients will lose weight, but the vast majority will find the help they need to lead healthier lives.

Patients will not usually meet individually with a dietitian or social worker. Our doctors will refer patients if they feel this is necessary based on a variety of factors such as a patient’s medical history.

Patients are not given a specific meal plan as this can be detrimental to building the skills needed to eat healthier, and can make it difficult to continue eating healthier when a patient leaves the clinic. Instead, we teach patients, both during appointments as well as in group classes, how to make healthier food choices based on the Canada Food Guide.

We do not see patients for life. Patients are typically seen for about a year, at which time they are transitioned back to their primary healthcare provider.

Medications used to treat obesity may not be covered by an insurance plan, or the insurance plan will require prior approval of the medication. Just like with most other medications prescribed to manage a chronic condition, the costs associated with any medications we prescribe are the responsibility of the patient. If an insurance company requires the completion of a prior approval form, there is a fee to the patient to complete these.

We do not offer hormonal testing.

We do not follow patients during pregnancy. Changes in weight are more complicated during pregnancy and require specialized care.