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New obesity guidelines help physicians and patients with weight loss treatments

Few health problems pose a greater threat to patients than obesity and its related ailments. Primary care physicians are on the front lines of the battle against obesity. That’s why, experts say, it’s critical for doctors to find ways of instituting health and behavioral modification programs into their practices to help patients make meaningful lifestyle changes.

In 2010, more than 78 million U.S. adults and roughly 12.5 million children and adolescents were obese, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. And the rate is rising.

According to a recent analysis by Gallup Healthways, the adult obesity rate in 2013 was 27.2%, up from 26.2% in 2012, and it is on pace to surpass all annual average obesity rates since Gallup-Healthways began tracking it in 2008.

obesity U.S. adults 20-74


As our waistlines expand, so too do the number of medical problems caused by excess body weight. A 2012 report by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, “F as in Fat, How Obesity Threatens America’s Future,” found that if obesity rates continue on their current trajectories, the number of new cases of type 2 diabetes, coronary heart disease and stroke, hypertension, and arthritis could increase 10-fold between 2010 and 2020—and double again by 2030. All this comes with a current annual price tag of $190 billion.

 “As evidence unfolds, everyone is beginning to appreciate that obesity and excess body weight are driving medical conditions and costs. You cannot get medical costs under control as long as we have these rising rates of obesity,” says Donna Ryan, MD, professor emeritus at Pennington Biomedical Research Center at Louisiana State University Health System, and previous past president of The Obesity Society.


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