Guidelines for Obesity Physicians
Stedman’s Medical Dictionary defines obesity as an interruption, cessation, or disorder of body function, system, or organ. Unfortunately, some physicians have not approached obesity as a disease. Studies have repeatedly confirmed that, when seven out of 10 patients walking into primary care clinics are either overweight or obese, physicians are being desensitized to overweight people and view obesity as a state rather than a disease. Physicians are in the best position to address obesity in their patients, but first they need to add it to the checklist of problems as consistently as they would any other disease.
Obesity physicians in all medical disciplines must carry out the task at hand collectively, but it is the main duty of primary care providers, such as internists, family care physicians, pediatricians, and gynecologists. It is also critical that the medical school curriculum be improved commensurate to the weight of the problem we now face globally.
Obesity physicians should be incorporated with routine medical practice. This includes familiarizing themselves with the concept of body mass index (BMI), recording every patient’s BMI, obtaining patient’s weight history, taking a brief diet history, establishing realistic goals, emphasizing on life-style changes of patients, encouraging close follow-up, and disciplined practice.
BMI is the statistical measure of the weight of a person according to height. BMI charts must be placed in charting rooms and patients room together with the BMI-associated disease tables. Obesity physicians should make sure that the patient’s height and weight are recorded accurately. Preventing obesity is as important as preventing other diseases. Obesity physicians should be aware of the patient’s significant weight gain in the succeeding months or even years. Weight loss programs can be used for patients who are not able to lose weight or maintain weight loss with conventional therapies. These includes dietary therapies and physical activities.
Obesity physicians should be concerned about healthy eating and physical activities that can help patients lose weight, improve their fitness, and decrease the chances of developing heart disease, high blood pressure, or Type 2 diabetes. Small changes can make a surprising difference in a patient’s health. Obesity physicians should offer practical suggestions that do not require a complete overhaul of their patient’s current way of life. In some cases, obesity physician may refer patients to a nutrition specialist, such as a registered dietitian, for in-depth counseling about food choices.
If physicians do not rise to the challenge, the country’s health care system could collapse in the next few decades under the weight of heavy Americans.