When diagnosing obesity, look beyond BMI

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When diagnosing obesity, look beyond BMI

Obesity experts have introduced a new framework for diagnosing and treating obesity in adults, focusing on waist size and physical and mental health issues, rather than just body mass index (BMI). The research is published in Nature Medicine.

Holistic approach

The framework is the result of an international consensus study among 29 obesity experts from Europe and North America, conducted by the European Association for the Study of Obesity (EASO) led by Prof. Gijs Goossens from Maastricht UMC+. Goossens explains: ‘Even if people do not meet the BMI criteria for obesity, they may still have serious health risks and functional limitations, which can greatly reduce quality of life. Therefore, based on expert consensus, we recommend diagnosing obesity based on a broader clinical evaluation of the patient, which includes daily functioning and mental health in addition to waist circumference. Such a holistic approach is also used for other chronic conditions.’

Custom made

Obesity is now recognized as a chronic disease with other conditions and chronic diseases as a result, but in practice there is still too little attention for the complexity of the disease process.and a healthy lifestyle remains essential in the treatment of obesity, but if lifestyle changes do not produce sufficient results, timely, tailor-made treatments are necessary.Goossens emphasizes that it is important not to medicalize obesity, but that waiting too long also entails risks.“If we can prevent type 2 diabetes or a heart attack in someone with a significantly enlarged waistline with timely treatment, we should not wait until someone exceeds a certain BMI threshold,” Goossens said.

Source: Maastricht UMC+

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