NEW CANADIAN OBESITY GUIDELINES FOCUS ON PATIENT'S OVERALL HEALTH NOT WEIGHT

Aug 04, 2020

By Jane Brown

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New Canadian obesity guidelines call for doctors to shift their thinking to focus on a patient’s overall health and lived experience rather than solely on their weight.

In addition, the Body Mass Index (BMI) is no longer recommended as the primary tool to identify obesity.

The goal of the guidelines, which took more than two years to develop, is to have doctors, health agencies and patients see obesity not as a lifestyle problem but as a chronic disease that requires ongoing medical treatment.

Doctor Sean Wharton is lead author of the guidelines, the first in almost fifteen years.

He says the big change since 2006 is that there is no longer an emphasis on counting calories and focusing on just having a diet. Instead he says, a medical treatment model needs to be used.

The guidelines come as obesity and weight management receive renewed attention during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Studies have shown obesity is a risk factor for serious illness or early death from the new coronavirus, particularly for younger patients.

You can read more about the new guidelines in the Canadian Medical Association Journal.

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