Algorithm helps guide obesity care

AMA defines obesity as a disease
AMA defines obesity as a disease

HealthDay News -- The American Society of Bariatric Physicians (ASBP) has developed an algorithm to help clinicians navigate medical treatment, develop and implement an obesity care plan plan tailored to individual patients.

"[Healthcare providers] are now confronted with the need to understand what makes obesity a disease and how patients affected by obesity are best managed," Deborah Bade Horn, DO, MPH, ASBP president-elect and Algorithm Committee co-chair, said in a statement. "They can benefit from the algorithm, which compiles the experience of researchers and clinicians who engage in obesity treatment on a day-to-day basis." 

The algorithm emphasizes patients' overall health and reducing their risk of developing obesity-linked conditions, and provides several criteria for assessing the presence of obesity, adiposopathy and fat mass disease. These include the Edmonton Obesity Staging System, fat percent, waist circumference and BMI. 

Following an examination of current lifestyle and family history, a physical examination and laboratory testing, specific changes are recommended. Individualized treatment plans may consist of a combination of diet and nutrition, physical activity, counseling and medication, as appropriate.

If these options are ineffective the guidelines recommend considering referral to a metabolic or bariatric surgeon and coordination of pre-and post-operative care with an obesity medicine specialist. 

The algorithm is not intended to be a set of hard and fast rules, the ASBP emphasized, but rather a fluid educational tool. The authors said the guidelines will be updated each year to "assist in the translation of medical science and the clinical experience for the authors towards assisting clinicians to better manage their overweight and obese patients."

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