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Multidisciplinary Approach to Obesity Management

Obesity is a complex, chronic, progressive condition that warrants a holistic treatment approach. In recent years, the prevalence of obesity has shown a persistent upward trend. Obesity is now a global concern – approximately one billion people worldwide are expected to be living with obesity by 2030.

In Canada alone, 30 percent – or more than one in three adults – are obese and may require medical assistance to combat this disease. 

In light of these ever-growing numbers, several organizations including the World Obesity Federation, The Obesity Society, the European Association for the Study of Obesity, the Obesity Action Coalition, the Global Obesity Patient Alliance, and Obesity Canada have established World Obesity Day on March 4 every year. 

The purpose of this day is to come together and spread awareness, discuss preventive measures, stay up-to-date on obesity management guidelines, debunk misconceptions, and take progressive action toward managing this condition.

Obesity Prevention and Treatment 

Obesity is not a standalone condition and cannot be assessed by body mass index alone. It accounts for 60 percent of diabetes mellitus cases, 40 percent of hypertension cases, 20 percent of cardiovascular disease cases, and other diseases like arthritis, stroke, and cancer. Around one in 10 premature deaths among adults between the ages of 20 and 64 in Canada have been attributed to obesity. 

In addition to physical ailments, obese people often have to combat weight biases, discrimination, and societal stigma, which can take a toll on their mental, emotional, and social well-being. Obesity stigma can also affect an individual’s access to education, employment, and healthcare due to the prevalent unfavourable stereotypes. 

Therefore, the successful management of overweight and obesity requires medical practitioners to look beyond simplistic “burn excessive fat” or “eat less, move more” strategies and opt for a multidisciplinary approach. Obesity Canada recommends the Canadian Adult Obesity Clinical Practice Guidelines as a new standard of obesity care.

The healthcare policy is being updated to allow federal and provincial governments to recognize obesity as a chronic disease. To provide training to health professionals in managing obesity in an evidence-based manner, many courses like the Obesity Management Program (a 10-unit education module now being revamped) and the Canadian Advanced Learning In Bariatric Care have been launched. Continued education and professional development are critical to combat this evolving epidemic.

Obesity research is also making significant strides. Health Canada has recently approved the first-and-only prescription weight loss medication, which became commercially available at the end of 2022.

Addressing Obesity 

To provide high-quality care to patients, healthcare practitioners must take on a more active role in disseminating timely health education as well as participating in comprehensive community interventions and public health initiatives for successful weight management.  

Keep Informed With MDBriefCase

Taking a multidisciplinary approach to treating obesity, staying abreast of the latest data on wellness trends, and consistently updating obesity prevention and treatment methods are vital to patient care. Explore our many related courses and join the MDBriefCase community to stay current on guidelines.