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Diagnosing obesity prompts action

Armen Hareyan's picture

Diagnosis and Obesity treatment plan

Mayo Clinic physicians have identified that simply being diagnosed as obese increases a patient's likelihood of establishing a treatment plan with their physician, a crucial step in improving health and fighting obesity. It's a significant finding, because obesity is a growing worldwide epidemic and the second leading cause of preventable death in developing countries.

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Published in the August issue of Mayo Clinic Proceedings, the article reveals that an obesity diagnosis is the strongest predictor of obesity management. Mayo Clinic physicians evaluated the records of 2,543 obese patients treated over a one-year period.

Only one in five patients had their obesity documented and a disease management plan made, the study's authors say. But those patients who were diagnosed as obese had a 2.5 times higher chance of forming a weight loss management plan than if they hadn't been diagnosed.

Warren Thompson, M.D., a Mayo Clinic internist from the Department of Preventive Medicine, says physicians should be more proactive in discussing obesity with their patients and patients should initiate the conversation if their weight concerns them. The ramifications are far-reaching for improving the health of those living with obesity, which is a risk factor for diabetes and cardiovascular diseases. Even a small reduction in an obese person's weight improves quality of life, reduces morbidity and results in lower health care use and medical costs.