Obesity not defined by one’s weight or size, new guidelines say
2020-08-04 from thegobeandmail.com
Obesity is not defined by one’s weight or size, but by whether a person’s body fat impairs their health, according to new clinical guidelines for managing the condition.
The guidelines, developed by the Obesity Canada and the Canadian Association of Bariatric Physicians and Surgeons, describe obesity as a complex chronic disease, one that cannot simply be resolved by eating less and exercising more. And while obesity is traditionally defined as having a body mass index, or BMI, of 30 or more, the authors offer a new definition.
“It’s not about the amount of body fat, it’s not about where the body fat is. It’s not about the type of body fat,” said Arya Sharma, scientific director of Obesity Canada and one of the more than 60 authors. “It’s just a very, very simple question. And that is: Does this person’s body fat or excess body fat affect their health? If it does, we’ve got obesity. If it doesn’t, we just have a large person with a lot of body fat.”
The guidelines, summarized in a paper published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal on Tuesday, reflect a paradigm shift in approaching obesity, with a focus on improving patients’ health rather than merely on weight loss.
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