POWER — Practice Guide on Obesity and Weight Management, Education, and Resources

Recently, the American Gastroenterological Association (AGA) has published a large amount of information regarding obesity and the potential role for gastroenterologists.  In addition to publishing an entire Special Issue supplement of Gastroenterology (152: (7): 1635-1801, the AGA has published a “white paper” (Clin Gastroenterol Hepatol 2017; 15: 631-49).  The AGA has also addressed coding issues and episodic care issues: Clin Gastroenterol Hepatol 2017; 15: 650-64.

Some useful points from these articles:

  • “Severe obesity [as classified by] the American Heart Association…BMI>120% of the 95% for age and sex or a BMI ≥35” (“class 2 obesity in adults”) Class 3 obesity is BMI >140% of 95% for age and sex or a BMI ≥40.
  • Intensive lifestyle interventions ‘average weight losses of up to 8 kg in 6 months’ but maintaining weight loss has been a challenge. “However, both the DPP and Look AHEAD have shown that weight loss, followed by substantial weight regain, was associated with greater improvements in health than not having lost weight at all.”
  • Good idea to review medications that affect weight.  Medications associated with weight gain include antidiabetics, some antihypertensives (eg. nadolol, propranolol), antidepressants (eg. lithium, mirtazapine, SSRIs, tricyclic antidepressants), antipsychotics (clozapine, olanzapine, quetiapine, risperdione), some antieleptics (carbamazepine, gabapentin, pregabalin, valproic acid), 1st generation antihistamines and glucocorticoids.
  • Is there a best diet? On this topic, the authors (pg 1749 of supplement): “there appears to be little weight loss advantage or difference in metabolic health outcomes between dietary approaches and improvements in health are relative to degrees of weight loss.  Caloric restriction is the fundamental premise of every successful weight loss strategy, whether that is achieved by lowering fat or carbohydrate, fasting, or using meal replacements...the best diet ultimately is the one you can stick to long enough

The information available in these publications are overlapping and cannot be summarized adequately in a short post.  The white paper, in particular, does an excellent job of summarizing the reasons for obesity, the steps a clinician should take, identification of comorbidities, management (diet, exercise, pharmacologic agents, endoscopic therapies, and surgery), and outcomes.

My take (borrowed from the authors):  “obesity is possibly the greatest health care issue of our day…Although lifestyle changes, including an individualized reduced-calorie diet and physical activity, are the cornerstones of treatment, new medications and bariatric endoscopic therapies and surgery can be effective tools.”

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