In 1998, the NIH released a long awaited study on obesity.  It was the first federal clinical practice guidelines to deal with overweight and obesity issues using an evidence-based approach. The guidelines provide scientific evidence behind their recommendations for weight loss and place the burden of treatment squarely on the shoulders of primary care physicians.

I remember reading with great anticipation upon its release, only to discover it fell short when it came to providing practical strategies for implementing the recommendations.   In its governmental bureaucracy, the evidence is weighted (no pun intended) on determining IF a patient is obese and at risk for obesity related co-morbidities and WHY we should treat them (like we can’t figure that out).  But when I got to the interventions…drum roll please….a combination of decreased calories and increased exercise with behavior therapy strategies to promote diet and physical activity. (NIH/NHLBI Clinical Guidelines on Obesity pg 95-96)  Wow.  That was worth my tax dollars, wasn’t it?

I have felt sympathy for primary care physicians over the years as they struggle to develop methods to deal with this very complicated disease of obesity.  So imagine my delight this past fall when the American Society of Bariatric Physicians released the Obesity Algorithm©, a specific tool to help clinicians better manage their patients with overweight and obesity.

Our friends at the ASBP have not only translated the medical science related to obesity, but they have generously shared their years of clinical experience.  The result is a very practical and complete guideline that any physician can study and put into practical application.  Some of the topics covered include:

  • Diagnostic Testing -including Resting Metabolic Rate (RMR) and VO2 Max
  • Nutrition
  • Physical Activity
  • Behavior Therapy & Motivational Interviewing
  • Weight Management Pharmacotherapy

ASBP Trustee and Algorithm Committee Co-chair Jennifer Seger MD is quoted as saying, “This will help give physicians a better opportunity to manage patients affected by obesity in the most compassionate, scientifically sound and cost-effective way possible.”

Well done ASBP.

To view the Obesity Algorithm, click here.

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