The Obesity Algorithm: Why Weight Management May Be More Important Now Than Ever

April 20, 2020

Obesity-related conditions seem to worsen the effect of COVID-19. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that people with heart disease and diabetes are at higher risk of COVID-19 complications, and the World Obesity Organization predicts that a large percentage of patiients with the coronavirus will have a BMI over 25.  Many aspects of patient management can be more difficult in the obese patient, including diagnostic imaging, intubation, positioning, and transport, making it more important than ever for patients and their physicians to prioritize weight management strategies.

The article "The 2020 Obesity Algorithm: An updated, interactive resource for physicians," first appeared on our partner site Medical Economics.

Obesity-related conditions seem to worsen the effect of COVID-19. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that people with heart disease and diabetes are at higher risk of COVID-19 complications, and the World Obesity Organization predicts that a large percentage of patiients with the coronavirus will have a BMI over 25.  Many aspects of patient management can be more difficult in the obese patient, including diagnostic imaging, intubation, positioning, and transport, making it more important than ever for patients and their physicians to prioritize weight management strategies.

The global obesity epidemic continues its rise - worldwide, obesity has tripled since 1975, according to the World Health Organization - and the United States has not been immune to the increases. Stateside, obesity prevalence has been steadily increasing since the 1980s and currently, 39.6 percent of adults live with obesity. Given the epidemic’s broad scope, it is imperative that clinicians and other health care professionals equip themselves with tools and resources to meet the needs of a growing patient population with obesity.

The Need for Advanced Obesity Medicine Knowledge

Despite the growing number of Americans living with this serious chronic and treatable condition, there is a significant opportunity for clinicians to further their knowledge of obesity medicine. The sheer complexity and heterogeneity of the condition make it vital for clinicians to understand of its potential manifestations, complications, and outcomes as well as the growing number of viable treatment options available.

Discussions about patients’ weight status are associated with clinically significant weight loss. These ongoing dialogues with patients can become even more impactful when clinicians are conscientious about the approach and resources brought into treatment plans.

The Obesity Algorithm

Created by the Obesity Medicine Association (OMA) seven years ago, the Obesity Algorithm offers comprehensive clinical guidance that enables clinicians to stay ahead of the latest obesity management trends and learn valuable evidence-based medical approaches to bring into their practices.

Regardless of speciality, the Obesity Algorithm is a powerful and relevant tool for all clinicians practicing medicine against the backdrop of a growing obesity epidemic. The Obesity Algorithm contains important information on the mechanisms, evaluation and treatment of obesity. It also explains why obesity is a disease; how obesity plays a causal role in the most common metabolic diseases; and how to treat obesity to reduce disease risk.

The 2020 Update

Each year, the Obesity Algorithm undergoes rigorous review by a committee representing a broad spectrum of clinicians, allied healthcare professionals, clinical researchers, academics and other experts in obesity science.

This year’s updated Obesity Algorithm includes new information on:

  • Obesity myths

  • Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)

  • Obesity and psychiatric disease

  • Ketogenic diet

The 2020 algorithm also features new interactive capabilities, with clickable links to OMA podcasts and webinars hosted by obesity experts that offer readers the opportunity to dive deeper into the topics covered in the text. And for clinicians who have the desire to learn more but not the time, the 2020 update presents an easily digestible “Top Ten” summary of each section.

Bringing the Obesity Algorithm into Practice

Along with being a powerful tool for obesity treatment and weight management, the Obesity Algorithm also offers several useful applications for healthcare professionals. It can be used as a training resource for team members to advance their knowledge of obesity medicine and current treatment options. And it can serve as an effective study resource for healthcare professionals seeking ABOM (American Board of Obesity Medicine) certification.

Empower yourself - and your practice - with an interactive tool that will enable you to better meet the critical needs of your patients with obesity. The 2020 Obesity Algorithm is free to access and download for OMA members. In addition to digital and (new in 2020) print versions, a free PowerPoint of the algorithm is available for download.

Visit https://obesitymedicine.org/obesity-algorithm/ for the 2020 Obesity Algorithm and other obesity medicine resources. 

Harold Bays, MD,  is the OMA Chief Science Officer and has served as scientific writer of the OMA Obesity Algorithm (slides and eBook) each year since its beginning in 2013. He is Medical Director and President of the Louisville Metabolic and Atherosclerosis Research Center, and has served as a Principal Investigator for over 500 clinical trials. He is Board Certified in Internal Medicine