Why this Guidance Initiative?

As a physician, you are probably aware that we are experiencing an epidemic of obesity in both adults and children in the U.S. Approximately 50 percent of women and 59 percent of men age 20 and older are overweight or obese, as are about one quarter of children and adolescents ages 6 -17236. And these rates, which are already among the highest in the world, are increasing rather than decreasing. From a public health perspective, this is alarming.

Despite this history, scientific evidence strongly suggests that, in many cases, obese individuals who lose even relatively small amounts of weight find that an accompanying comorbid disease or condition is improved, its progression is slowed, or its symptoms disappear. The evidence further suggests that improvement in these comorbid conditions will persist if such modest weight loss is maintained.

The American Obesity Association and Shape Up America!, two nonprofit organizations whose missions include combating obesity through education and treatment, have undertaken this joint public health initiative in an attempt to reverse this upward trend in obesity and obesity-related disease rates. It is our position that:

The result of this joint initiative is Guidance for Treatment of Adult Obesity. We hope this document will provide the tools you need to identify and intervene as appropriate, and provide treatment guidance and support for those patients who are interested in and can benefit from such intervention. We also envision that it will provide guidance to insurance companies, companies that contract with insurers for health insurance, and local, state, and federal governmental organizations--thereby increasing the percentage of patients who can obtain responsible and affordable medical treatment of obesity.


Patricia Choban, M.D. Chair, Committee for the Development of Guidance for Treatment of Adult Obesity

Richard Atkinson, M.D. President, American Obesity Association

Barbara J. Moore, Ph.D. President and CEO, Shape Up America!