A person’s health should describe obesity-not just their weight, a recent Canadian clinical guideline notes. It also advises that physicians go beyond just prescribing a diet and exercise. Therefore, they should concentrate on the root causes of weight gain and approach wellness in a holistic way. The guideline, published Tuesday in the Journal of the Canadian Medical Association, expressly admonished weight-related bias against patients in the Person’s Health system.
Ximena Ramos-Salas, Obesity Canada’s director of research and policy and one of the writers of the guidelines, said evidence indicates that many doctors discriminate against obese patients, and this can lead to poorer health outcomes, regardless of their weight.
In the past three decades in Canada, the incidence of obesity has tripled and now Statistics Canada reports that about one in four Canadians is obese. Since 2006 the Guideline has not been revised. The updated edition was sponsored by Diabetes Canada, the Bariatric Physicists and Surgeons Association of Canada, and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research via a grant for a Patient-Oriented Research Strategy.
Although the new guidance also advocates the use of diagnostic metrics such as the body mass index ( BMI). Also, waist circumference, it recognizes their clinical limitations and suggests clinicians. It should focus more on how weight affects the health of a person. Small weight reductions of about 3-5%, can lead to changes in health. Also, the “best weight” of an obese individual may not be their “ideal weight” according to BMI, the guideline says. This underlines that obesity is a complex, chronic disease requiring lifelong management.
But instead of merely urging patients to “eat less, do more,” the recommendation allows physicians to offer care. It is along the lines of psychological counselling, medication. Also, bariatric surgery, such as gastric bypass operations. The Guideline does not completely eradicate conventional advice on weight loss.
Nevertheless, it states that it is always difficult to hold the weight off. It is as the brain can compensate by feeling hungry, thus causing people to consume more. Several studies have shown that the majority of people who lose weight on a diet regain it.
When addressing a patient’s weight, physicians will always ask for permission. Also, work with them to focus on health goals that matter to them. It is rather than just asking them to cut calories.