Today, more than a third of the U.S. adult population is affected by obesity, and the number of adults who are affected by severe obesity, defined as BMI greater than 40 or more than 100 pounds overweight, continues to rise.1,2 It is now recognized that obesity is not a lifestyle choice; instead, it’s known to be a complex disease influenced by physiological, psychological, environmental and genetic factors.3,4 

To fight the obesity epidemic in America, the healthcare community must treat obesity as a serious and complex disease.  Healthcare professionals must encourage one another to implement a comprehensive treatment approach that considers all evidence-based medical strategies to help patients achieve and maintain their weight-loss goals.5,6

These strategies must be tailored to each individual patient’s needs and goals, and may include:
   •  Intensive behavioral treatment
   •  Behavior modification: exercise, diet/meal replacement, support groups
   •  Weight-management products and programs
   •  Physician-supervised weight management
   •  Medications for weight loss and chronic weight management
   •  Bariatric surgery
Likewise, people living with obesity, their loved ones and caregivers, must feel free to initiate conversations with physicians that result in action plans that will help patients meet their weight-loss goals. 

1. US Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Health Statistics. Prevalence of overweight, obesity, and extreme obesity among adults: United States, trends 1960-1962 through 2007-2008.
http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/hestat/obesity_adult_07_08/obesity_adult_07_08.pdf. Published June 2010. Accessed October 17, 2014.

2. World Health Organization. Fact sheet no. 311: obesity and overweight. http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs311/en/. Updated March 2013. Accessed July 25, 2014.

3. Kushner R, Lawrence V, Kumar S. Practical Manual of Clinical Obesity. 1st ed. West Sussex, UK: John Wiley & Sons, Ltd; 2013.
4. Tompson T, Benz J, Agiesta J, et al. Obesity in the United States: public perceptions. The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research. 2013.
http://www.apnorc.org/PDFs/Obesity/AP-NORC-Obesity-Research-Highlights.pdf. Accessed July 25, 2014.

5. Wright SM, Aronne LJ. Causes of obesity. Abdom Imaging. 2012; 37(5):7¬30-732.  

6. The American Medical Association. AMA adopts new policies on second day of voting at annual meeting. http://www.ama-assn.org/ama/pub/news/news/2013/2013-06-18-new-ama-policies-annual-meeting.page.
Updated June 18, 2013. Accessed July 25, 2014.