COMMENTARY

Advances in Obesity Management: 2014

Fatima Cody Stanford, MD, MPH

Disclosures

December 11, 2014

In This Article

Progress and Barriers to Obesity Care

Last year, physician members of the American Medical Association (AMA) approved a policy that labeled obesity as a disease that requires a range of medical interventions.[1] They said the move was part of an effort to advance obesity treatment and prevention. So, where are we more than a year later?

The "obesity as disease" concept has been embraced by a number of other organizations, including the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists, the American College of Cardiology, and The Obesity Society, even though debate continues to rage about flaws in the body mass index (BMI), the measure usually used to define obesity.[2]

In clinical practice, the first specialists certified by the American Board of Obesity Medicine (ABOM) in 2012 are now using their skills to treat obese patients. However, despite growing evidence for the benefit of providing lifestyle interventions, pharmacotherapy, and bariatric surgery for the treatment of obesity, survey data suggest that only a minority of clinicians provide such care.[3]

Meanwhile, obesity rates remain high among adults and children in the United States. For the first time, obesity rates exceeded 35% in two states, Mississippi and West Virginia.[4] Colorado remains the state with the lowest obesity rate, at 21.3%. Racial and economic disparities are prevalent in obesity as well, with substantially higher rates among black and Hispanic populations compared with white populations.[5,6]

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