American Society of Bariatric Physicians’ Obesity Algorithm Guides Physicians through Obesity Treatment for Patients

| December 27, 2013

Medical Methods in Obesity Treatment

This column is dedicated to providing information on the medical management of obesity, which includes diet, exercise, behavioral change, and medication.
Column Editors: Craig Primack, MD, FACP, FAAP, Medical Bariatrician/Certified Medical Obesity Specialist/
Co-Medical Director, Scottsdale Weight Loss Center PLLC, Scottsdale, Arizona; and Wendy Scinta, MD, MS, FAAFP, Medical Director, Medical Weight Loss of NY, BOUNCE Program for Childhood Obesity, Fayetteville, New York; Clinical Assistant Professor of Family Medicine, Upstate Medical University, Syracuse, New York

This Month: American Society of Bariatric Physicians’ Obesity Algorithm Guides Physicians through Obesity Treatment for Patients

by Heidi Gordon

Heidi M. Gordon is Director of Marketing & Communication, American Society of Bariatric Physicians, Aurora, Colorado.

Bariatric Times. 2013;10(12):26–27.

Funding: No funding was provided for this article; Financial disclosures: Ms. Gordon reports no conflicts of interest relevant to the content of this article.

The American Society of Bariatric Physicians (ASBP) recently introduced the ASBP Obesity Algorithm©, a valuable tool for physicians to use for treating patients affected by obesity. This is the first-ever comprehensive algorithm that navigates the physician’s role in medical obesity treatment, using research-based, scientific evidence and clinical practice experience to provide principles for optimal treatment techniques.
Whether a physician is just getting started in obesity medicine or is a veteran in the field, the ASBP Obesity Algorithm provides an overview of principles that are necessary to consider when evaluating patients and implementing treatment plans for patients affected by obesity. Among these plans are options for nutrition strategies, exercise prescription, behavior change, weight-loss medications and discussion of surgical options for excess-fat reduction.

The algorithm was developed and written by a group of leading obesity medicine specialists who use models of care similar to the algorithm in their own practices. By examining each patient individually, obesity medicine physicians can create obesity treatment plans unique to each patient’s physical, emotional and lifestyle needs. For physicians who are not experienced in providing this type of care, the algorithm offers guidance in diagnosing and treating obesity in patients.

“Physicians are now confronted with the need to understand what makes obesity a disease and how patients affected by obesity are best managed,” said ASBP President-elect and Algorithm Committee Co-chair Deborah Bade Horn, DO, MPH, FASBP. “They can benefit from the algorithm, which compiles the experience of researchers and clinicians who engage in obesity treatment on a day-to-day basis.”

The algorithm emphasizes patients’ overall health and reduction in risk of developing associated conditions, such as type 2 diabetes, hypertension, sleep apnea, cardiovascular disease, and depression. Changes will only be recommended following an examination of the patient’s current lifestyle, family history, physical exam, and laboratory testing. The algorithm will aid physicians in determining whether these results warrant a need for intervening obesity treatment and what that care would look like.

The algorithm also offers suggestions for affordable treatment options. Physicians can use the algorithm to create individualized treatment plans for patients, providing them with optimal obesity care at an affordable cost.
“This will help give physicians a better opportunity to manage patients affected by obesity in the most compassionate, scientifically sound, and cost-effective way possible,” said ASBP Trustee and Algorithm Committee Co-chair Jennifer Seger, MD

The ASBP Obesity Algorithm is available as a free download at www.ObesityAlgorithm.org. Physicians may also visit the website to view and share these additional resources about the algorithm:
•    Fact sheet: Medical Options for Treating Obesity (http://asbp.org/images/PDFs/Media/ASBP-Obesity-Algorithm_FactSheet.pdf)
•    Slideshow: Using the ASBP Obesity Algorithm (http://www.asbp.org/images/UsingASBP%20ObesityAlgorithm.pdf)
•    Patient-informative infographic (http://asbp.org/images/PDFs/Resources/ASBP-Obesity-Algorithm_Infographic.pdf)
•    Video: Introduction to the ASBP Obesity Algorithm (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D8oaLPvMM8o&feature=youtu.be)
•    Video: Using the ASBP Obesity Algorithm (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dBXYceu-FcE&feature=youtu.be)
•    Video: Q&A Session for the ASBP Obesity Algorithm (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YYHnTc0vYhk&feature=youtu.be).

Physicians who have downloaded and used the ASBP Obesity Algorithm find it to be an important and practical tool for treating patients affected by obesity. For those who would like to incorporate the algorithm into their own presentations and lectures, the Society now offers a presentation-ready version of the algorithm, which is available for free download at www.ObesityAlgorithm.org.

“It puts all the different pieces of the puzzle together and solves what seemed like a complicated problem very methodically,” said Hetal Shah, MD, an ASBP member from Arlington Heights, Ill. “I thank all the contributors for helping us make a difference in the field of medicine.”

The authors of the ASBP Obesity Algorithm will present a follow-up lecture and host a panel discussion about the algorithm during the Obesity Course at the ASBP Spring 2014 Obesity Conference, themed “Diagnosis to Treatment: Recognizing Obesity as a Disease.” The conference runs March 12-16, 2014, at the Loews Philadelphia Hotel in Philadelphia. Visit www.obesitymedicineconference.org for more information or to register for this conference.

Category: Medical Methods in Obesity Treatment, Past Articles

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