Canada has issued new guidelines for treating patients with obesity. As part of the new guidelines, weight is no longer the main factor in determining obesity.

Obesity Canada and the Canadian Association of Bariatric Physicians and Surgeons believes that patients should be characterized by their overall health picture, not just their body weight. Guidelines were published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal recommended that obesity should be designated as a chronic illness that needs long-term care and tailored treatment for each patient. Doctors encourage others that body mass index (BMI) should not be the only factor in determining an obesity diagnosis.

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Dr. Arya Sharma, professor of medicine at the University of Alberta, Edmonton, who co-wrote the guidelines said the change from diagnosing based on weight only to a holistic strategy is a significant change, “This is a huge departure from this notion that you can step on a scale and diagnose obesity,” Sharma said. “This has nothing to do with size or shape or anything else. It’s simply the question, is your body fat impairing your health?”

Sharma and her co-authors laid out a five-point plan for considering patients with obesity, shown below. It includes asking permission, assessing their story, advise on management, agree on goals and assist with barriers to goals. See the tweet, below:

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