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GSA Releases New Toolkit for Obesity Management in Older Adults

The Gerontological Society of America has released a new toolkit aimed at providing primary care clinicians with guidance that will aid in improving the recognition and care for older patients with obesity.

Released on August 16, the toolkit was created to outline optimal strategies for obesity management in this patient population through a specific framework, named the “KAER” framework, designed to break down implementation of best practices in 4 specific categories for primary care clinicians.

“Primary care physicians and providers are often challenged when they care for patients with obesity. This concern for competence is a derivative of inadequate training in obesity,” said Fatima Cody Stanford, MD, MPH, an associate professor of medicine and pediatrics at Harvard Medical School and an obesity medicine physician-scientist at Massachusetts General Hospital, in a statement. “This toolkit serves as a reference for any clinician who seeks to provide patient-centered care for this patient population.”

A 63-page document published on the Gerontological Society of America website and developed with support from Novo Nordisk, the toolkit is broken down into 4 unique sections titled: Kickstart, Assess, Evaluate, and Refer (KAER). Using this KAER framework, each of the 4 sections within the toolkit contain subsections on key takeaways, an overview, and optimal approaches to implementation. In the aforementioned statement, the Gerontological Society of America outlined the specific goals of the KAER framework.

KAER Framework:

  • Kickstart the weight management conversation in the primary care setting with a focus on obesity as a disease, not a behavioral issue or problem based on poor choices.
  • Assess for overweight and obesity, underlying conditions, contributing medications, and overall health.
  • Evaluate treatment options based on assessment, discuss with patient, implement, and monitor outcomes.
  • Refer for community resources to assist on the weight management journey.

With more than 2 dozen references, the document also provides additional resources regarding weight loss and obesity management from other organizations, including the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, the American Academy of Physician Associates, and the American Association of Clinical Endocrinology, among others.

“We are grateful to our peer review panel who informed the development of the KAER Toolkit,” said Karen Tracy, vice president, strategic alliances and integrated communications at the Gerontological Society of America. “Their expertise allowed us to infuse the toolkit with the best available tools and resources for primary care teams to use while providing care to older adults with overweight and obesity. The toolkit includes important information that supports primary care teams to identify and address their own biases and practices that impede person-centered, sensitive care for individuals with overweight and obesity — an important first step in implementing the KAER Framework to support older adults with these chronic and complex conditions.”

This article, “The Gerontological Society of America Toolkit for the Management of Obesity in Older Adults,” was published on the Gerontological Society of America website.