New obesity guidelines have been published to help primary care providers (PCPs) manage obesity more effectively. The guidelines, referred to as Obesity 2, were created by an expert panel and published by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) in partnership with the American Heart Association and the American College of Cardiology. The guidelines help providers answer questions about addressing the prevalence of obesity that they see in their patients.
Who should lose weight?
In terms of identifying those who need to lose weight, the report recommends using Body Mass Index (BMI) as a first step, but not the sole criterion. What else can you look for? A large waist circumference – which is also a risk factor. The first recommendation highlights that the greater the BMI and waist circumference, the greater the risk is for type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease and death. You can calculate your BMI here.
What should we do for overweight patients?
Once identified, the report advises that providers counsel patients who need to lose weight that lifestyle changes that produce even modest, sustained weight loss can lead to meaningful health benefits, with greater weight loss leading to greater benefits. For slightly overweight patients, lifestyle changes may be a good strategy, and weight loss therapy is also recommended. Shedding just 3 to 5 percent of one’s body weight can result in reductions in levels of triglycerides and blood glucose, and decreases the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
What about obese patients?
For patients who have a significant amount of weight to lose, Obesity 2 recommends that providers refer patients to experienced bariatric surgeons. Bariatric surgery for patients who meet the BMI criteria (BMI of at least 40 or BMI of 35 with an obesity-related illness) is advised as an appropriate option. The evidence statements in the report address safety, efficacy and predictors of success for procedures like laparoscopic gastric banding, gastric sleeve, and Roux-en-Y gastric bypass. The report says that greater amounts of weight loss can reduce blood pressure, further improve cholesterol levels, and reduce the need for medications to control blood glucose levels, lipid levels and blood pressure.
At Chattanooga Bariatrics, we recognize that providing individualized, safe and effective recommendations and surgical care is just the first part of the journey. Success after surgery requires altering lifetime habits, which requires education, emotional support and commitment – and we are here to help patients make the necessary lifestyle changes that can lead to better health, and better weight loss results. You can learn more about our program by attending one of our free informational seminars. Register online here or call 866-214-4441.