Experts Call for Individualized Approach to Obesity

Saturday, October 11 at 8:20 am

Las Vegas—Data indicates that more than one-third of adults are obese and the economic burden of treating obesity is significant. In an effort to combat this disease state, the standard of care is shifting to weight-centric management.

Donna H. Ryan, MD, professor emeritus, Pennington Biomedical Research Center in Baton Rouge, LA, explained how the role of the primary care physician is changing in obesity management. “The noncommunicable diseases are the public health challenge of the 21st century and the driver of many of these chronic diseases is obesity. It is imperative that primary care practitioners engage in weight management to achieve health benefits for their patients.”


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Ryan will outline the similarities and differences in weight loss recommendations from published medical associations during today’s workshop titled, “Principles of Obesity: Old Ways of Thinking, Same Old Results.” Guidelines include the 2013 American College of Cardiology (ACC), the American Heart Association (AHA), and The Obese Society (TOS) for the management of overweight and obesity in adults and The American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists’ (AACE) algorithm to weight management.

“Although the approaches are quite different, the recommendations are concordant,” she said. “For example, both support the importance of weight loss as a pathway to health improvement. It is not necessary to achieve a normal body mass index.”

Both guidelines emphasize that the purpose of weight loss is to improve health and that determining when to treat should be driven by assessment of health risk, according to Ryan. “The AACE approach goes a bit farther and promotes more intensive initial treatment for those of higher risk, while the AHA/ACC/TOS approach advises a more stepped approach with lifestyle alone progressing to medications and surgery if patients struggle.”

Ryan will also review the basic pathology of obesity, exploring the genetic and environmental factors. The workshop will conclude with an overview of the necessity and indications for individualized obesity treatment strategies—lifestyle modifications, medication, and surgery.

-Eileen Koutnik-Fotopoulos