Items in AFP with MESH term: Obesity
ABSTRACT: Obesity is a complex, multifactorial condition in which excess body fat may put a person at health risk. National data indicate that the prevalence of obesity in the United States is increasing in children and adults. Reversing these trends requires changes in individual behavior and the elimination of societal barriers to healthy lifestyle choices. Basic treatment of overweight and obese patients requires a comprehensive approach involving diet and nutrition, regular physical activity, and behavioral change, with an emphasis on long-term weight management rather than short-term extreme weight reduction. Physicians and other health professionals have an important role in promoting preventive measures and encouraging positive lifestyle behaviors, as well as identifying and treating obesity-related comorbidities. Health professionals also have a role in counseling patients about safe and effective weight loss and weight maintenance programs. Recent evidence-based guidelines from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, as well as recommendations from the American Academy of Pediatrics, American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists/American College of Endocrinology, American Obesity Association, U.S. Clinical Preventive Services Task Force, Institute of Medicine, and World Health Organization can be consulted for information and guidance on the identification and management of overweight and obese patients.
ABSTRACT: Dieting behaviors and nutrition can have an enormous impact on the gynecologic health of adolescents. Teenaged patients with anorexia nervosa can have hypothalamic suppression and amenorrhea. In addition, these adolescents are at high risk of osteoporosis and fractures. Unfortunately, data suggest that estrogen replacement, even in combination with nutritional supplementation, does not appear to correct the loss of bone density in these patients. Approximately one half of adolescents with bulimia nervosa also have hypothalamic dysfunction and oligomenorrhea or irregular menses. Generally, these abnormalities do not impact bone density and can be regulated with interval dosing of progesterone or regular use of oral contraceptives. In contrast, the obese adolescent with menstrual irregularity frequently has anovulation and hyperandrogenism, commonly referred to as polycystic ovary syndrome. Insulin resistance is thought to play a role in the pathophysiology of this condition. While current management usually involves oral contraceptives, future treatment may include insulin-lowering medications, such as metformin, to improve symptoms. Because all of these patients are potentially sexually active, discussion about contraception is important.
ABSTRACT: More than 60 percent of adults in the United States are overweight or obese, and obese persons are more likely to be ill than those who are not. Obesity presents challenges to physicians and patients and also has a negative impact on health status. Some patients who are obese may delay medical care because of concerns about disparagement by physicians and health care staff, or fear of being weighed. Simple accommodations, such as providing large-sized examination gowns and armless chairs, as well as weighing patients in a private area, may make the medical setting more accessible and more comfortable for obese patients. Extremely obese patients often have special health needs, such as lower extremity edema or respiratory insufficiency that require targeted evaluation and treatment. Although physical examination may be more difficult in obese patients, their disproportionate risk for some illnesses that are amenable to early detection increases the priority for preventive evaluations. Physicians can encourage improvements in healthy behaviors, regardless of the patient's desire for, or success with, weight loss treatment.
ABSTRACT: Obesity has reached epidemic proportions in the United States. More than 60 percent of U.S. adults are now overweight or obese (defined as at least 30 lb [13.6 kg] overweight), predisposing more than 97 million Americans to a host of chronic diseases and conditions. Physical activity has a positive effect on weight loss, total body fat, and body fat distribution, as well as maintenance of favorable body weight and change in body composition. Many of the protective aspects of exercise and activity appear to occur in overweight persons who gain fitness but remain overweight. Despite the well-known health and quality-of-life benefits of regular physical activity, few Americans are routinely active. Results of research studies have shown that physician intervention to discuss physical activity (including the wide array of health benefits and the potential barriers to being active) need not take more than three to five minutes during an office visit but can play a critical role in patient implementation. This article describes elements of effective counseling for physical activity and presents guidelines for developing physical activity programs for overweight and obese patients.
ABSTRACT: Hypertension and diabetes mellitus are common diseases in the United States. Patients with diabetes have a much higher rate of hypertension than would be expected in the general population. Regardless of the antihypertensive agent used, a reduction in blood pressure helps to prevent diabetic complications. Barring contraindications, angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors are considered first-line therapy in patients with diabetes and hypertension because of their well-established renal protective effects. Calcium channel blockers, low-dose diuretics, beta blockers, and alpha blockers have also been studied in this group. Most diabetic patients with hypertension require combination therapy to achieve optimal blood pressure goals.
ABSTRACT: Chemical dependency is a common, chronic disease that affects up to 25 percent of patients seen in primary care practices. The treatment goal for patients recovering from chemical dependency should be to avoid relapse. This requires physicians to have an open, nonjudgmental attitude and specific expertise about the implications of addiction for other health problems. First-line treatment for chemical dependency should be nonpharmacologic, but when medication is necessary, physicians should avoid drugs that have the potential for abuse or addiction. Medications that sedate or otherwise impair judgment also should be avoided in the recovering patient. Psychiatric illnesses should be aggressively treated, because untreated symptoms increase the risk of relapse into chemical dependency. Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors may help to lower alcohol consumption in depressed patients, and desipramine may help to facilitate abstinence in persons addicted to cocaine. If insomnia extends beyond the acute or postacute withdrawal period, trazodone may be an effective treatment. If nonpharmacologic management of pain is not possible, nonaddictive medications should be used. However, if non-addictive medications fail, long-acting opiates used under strict supervision may be considered. Uncontrolled pain in itself is a relapse risk.
ABSTRACT: Overweight in childhood and adolescence is an important public health issue because of its rapidly increasing prevalence and associated adverse medical and social consequences. Recent studies have estimated that 15 percent of children in the United States are at risk for overweight, and an additional 15 percent are overweight. Important predictors of overweight include age, sex, race/ethnicity, and parental weight status. Generally, school-based prevention programs are not successful in reducing the prevalence of obesity. Treatment interventions include behavioral therapy, reduction in sedentary behavior, and nutrition and physical activity education. These interventions are moderately successful but may not be generalized to the primary care setting. Family physicians should focus on identifying at-risk and overweight children and adolescents at an early stage and educating families about the health consequences of being overweight. Interventions should be tailored to the patient and involve the entire family.
ABSTRACT: Over-the-counter dietary supplements to treat obesity appeal to many patients who desire a 'magic bullet' for weight loss. Asking overweight patients about their use of weight-loss supplements and understanding the evidence for the efficacy, safety, and quality of these supplements are critical when counseling patients regarding weight loss. A schema for whether physicians should recommend, caution, or discourage use of a particular weight-loss supplement is presented in this article. More than 50 individual dietary supplements and more than 125 commercial combination products are available for weight loss. Currently, no weight-loss supplements meet criteria for recommended use. Although evidence of modest weight loss secondary to ephedra-caffeine ingestion exists, potentially serious adverse effects have led the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to ban the sale of these products. Chromium is a popular weight-loss supplement, but its efficacy and long-term safety are uncertain. Guar gum and chitosan appear to be ineffective; therefore, use of these products should be discouraged. Because of insufficient or conflicting evidence regarding the efficacy of conjugated linoleic acid, ginseng, glucomannan, green tea, hydroxycitric acid, L-carnitine, psyllium, pyruvate, and St. John's wort in weight loss, physicians should caution patients about the use of these supplements and closely monitor those who choose to use these products.
ABSTRACT: Coronary heart disease remains a leading cause of mortality in the United States, with 84 percent of persons 65 years or older dying from this disease. Secondary preventive measures, including lifestyle modification and pharmacotherapy, are important for elderly patients because of the variable impacts on morbidity and mortality rates and quality of life. Participating in light to moderate activities significantly decreases mortality rates in elderly patients. Smoking cessation translates into a reduction in overall mortality and morbidity rates at least equal to that of other preventive measures such as aspirin or beta-blocker therapy. Recent studies on the effects of lowering low-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels to below 100 mg per dL have shown a substantial reduction in coronary heart disease mortality and nonfatal myocardial infarction rates, with a persistent effect in patients older than 75 years. Hypertension, manifesting mostly as isolated systolic blood pressure elevation, also should be treated aggressively. Conventional medical therapies for hypertension (e.g., diuretics, beta blockers) and newer agents (e.g., calcium channel blockers, angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors), together with sodium restriction, have had a positive effect on cardiovascular mortality and morbidity rates in older patients. With the increasing prevalence of obesity, insulin resistance, and type 2 diabetes, interventions targeting weight reduction and glucose control should be emphasized. Whereas weight-loss strategies are poorly defined in this population, the management of diabetes through dietary modification, exercise, and medications is similar across age groups. The target hemoglobin A1C level is less than 7 percent. Elderly patients are prone to depression and social isolation, and they are more likely to have a lower socioeconomic status than younger patients, which may negatively affect participation in rehabilitation programs and compliance with medical advice and therapy. Strategies aimed at these factors have shown variable results and remain ill-defined.
Low-Carbohydrate Diets - Article
ABSTRACT: Americans spend dollar 33 billion annually on weight loss products and services, and a large portion of this money is spent on low-carbohydrate diets. Because of their higher protein and fat content and lower fiber and carbohydrate content, concerns have been raised about the potential health consequences of low-carbohydrate diets. Published long-term data are lacking. Short-term studies comparing traditional low-fat diets with low-carbohydrate diets found lower triglyceride levels, higher high-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels, similar low-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels, and lower A1C levels in persons on low-carbohydrate diets. These diets induce greater weight loss at three and six months than traditional low-fat diets; however, by one year there is no significant difference in maintained weight loss. Weight loss is directly related to calorie content and the ability to maintain caloric restriction; the proportions of nutrients in the diet are irrelevant. Low-carbohydrate diets had lower dropout rates than low-fat diets in several studies, possibly because of the high protein content and low glycemic index, which can be appetite suppressing. Data indicate that low-carbohydrate diets are a safe, reasonable alternative to low-fat diets for weight loss. Additional studies are needed to investigate the long-term safety and effectiveness of these and other approaches to weight loss.