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October 11, 2013

Medical Specialty Society Offers First-ever Obesity Treatment Algorithm to Physicians

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Today, the Obesity Medicine Association (OMA), a medical specialty society, rolls out the first-ever comprehensive Obesity Algorithm® charts that navigate the physician’s role in medically treating and caring for patients affected by obesity.

The Obesity Algorithm–developed and written by a group of leading obesity medicine clinicians–offers all physicians an overview of principles that are necessary to consider when evaluating patients and implementing treatment plans for patients affected by obesity. Within these plans are options for nutrition strategies, exercise prescription, behavior change, weight-loss medications and discussion of surgical options. In addition to weight loss, the Algorithm places a strong emphasis on optimizing health, decreasing disease risk and improving overall quality of life.

The Algorithm is available as a free download from and a video podcast about how physicians can use it is available from that page.

“Physicians are now confronted with the need to understand what makes obesity a disease and how patients affected by obesity are best managed,” said OMA President-elect and Algorithm Committee Co-chair Deborah Bade Horn, D.O., M.P.H., F.A.S.B.P. “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 reduction in risk of developing associated conditions, such as type 2 diabetes, hypertension, sleep apnea, cardiovascular disease and depression. Changes will only be recommended following an examination of the patient’s current lifestyle, family history, physical exam and laboratory testing. The Algorithm will aid physicians in determining whether these results warrant a need for intervening obesity treatment and what that care would look like.

The Algorithm also offers suggestions for affordable treatment options. Physicians can use the Algorithm to create individualized treatment plans for patients, providing them with optimal obesity care at an affordable cost.

“This will help give physicians a better opportunity to manage patients affected by obesity in the most compassionate, scientifically sound and cost-effective way possible,” said OMA Trustee and Algorithm Committee Co-chair Jennifer Seger, M.D.

Following the American Medical Association’s (AMA’s) decision in June to declare obesity a chronic disease state, more patients are seeking treatment options from their primary care providers. However, research studies indicate that primary care physicians want and need more help in discussing obesity with their patients. According to a study published in December 2012, primary care physicians have a perceivable need for additional education and training in order to improve treatment and care for patients affected by obesity. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that nearly 36 percent of U.S. adults and 17 percent of youth are affected by obesity. Obesity increases the risk of having heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, and certain cancers, the leading causes of preventable death in the United States.