Science and Tech


Doctors Must Help Obese Patients Lose Weight, Health Groups Say

Groups such as the American Heart Association have developed new guidelines to educate doctors on helping patients lose weight.
Posted at 3:36 PM, Nov 13, 2013

Obesity should be treated at the doctor's office like any other disease — that's according to several leading medical groups. 

Doctors at the American Heart Association, the American College of Cardiology and The Obesity Society have developed new guidelines designed to educate doctors on helping their patients lose weight. (Via Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)

Among those new rules, doctors are encouraged to measure their patients' body mass index and waist circumference more often. (Via CBS)

The best weight-loss programs, they say, involve cutting back on 500 calories from a person's diet and meeting with a nutritionist or doctor two to three times a week. If that's not an option, commercial weight-loss programs are recommended. (Via ABC)  

Doctors should tell their patients to lose between 5 and 10 percent of their weight, and the best way to do that is through a healthy lifestyle. (Via BBC)  

While some of these guidelines may seem pretty obvious, the study's authors say it's important to understand many doctors haven't been trained properly in obesity diagnosis and treatment. 

The chairwoman of the study told Medscape Medical News"They are operating in a culture that has a sea of misinformation about weight management that promotes dietary supplements and diets that promise quick and easy weight loss."

A pharmacist at the University of Pittsburgh School of Pharmacy told Everyday Health: "The typical response from a doctor is to emphasize that 'you need to lose weight.' … It's never 'How can I help you to lose weight?', even though that would be a much more effective strategy."

The obesity rate in the U.S. is about 27 percent — a number that's up from previous years. This June, the American Medical Association classified obesity as a disease.