3 Steps for Treating Obesity – the ASBP Algorithm

ASBP Obesity Algorithm Infographic

When the American Medical Association declared that obesity is a chronic disease, the question for most doctors was, “OK, so how do we treat it?” Today the American Society of Bariatric Physicians (ASBP) published an answer — a straightforward clinical algorithm for treating obesity. While this algorithm doesn’t break a great deal of new ground, it does provide a very succinct answer to the basic question of how to treat this newly acknowledged disease that’s been hiding in plain sight for so long.

Three fundamental steps comprise the algorithm:

  1. Assessment. Obesity is not a simple disease of excess weight. Diagnosis and assessment must go well beyond BMI to distinguish patients in good health with excess weight from those with significant metabolic disease. The algorithm makes good use of the Edmonton Obesity Staging System and other clinical criteria.
  2. Tailored Treatment. The algorithm puts potential treatment tools into context for developing an appropriate individual treatment plan suited to the diverse needs of this patient population.
  3. Referral. The emerging specialty of Obesity Medicine has an essential role to play in caring for the patients with this complex chronic disease who cannot be adequately treated in a primary care setting.

Deborah Bade Horn, ASBP President-elect and Co-chair of the expert committee responsible for this algorithm, explained its value:

Physicians are now confronted with the need to understand what makes obesity a disease and how patients affected by obesity are best managed. 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.

Click here for more information on the ASBP Obesity Algorithm, which will be officially released at 6 pm PT October 11.

Doctor Elizabeth Mahon, photograph © Mercy Health / flickr

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