Clinical Practice Guideline(s)

Overweight and Obesity in Adults

Management of Overweight and Obesity in Adults

(Endorsed, June 2014)

The guideline, Management of Overweight and Obesity in Adults, was developed by the American College of Cardiology, the American Heart Association, and the Obesity Society, and endorsed by the American Academy of Family Physicians.

Key Recommendations

  • Overweight is defined as BMI 25.0 – 29.9 kg/m2 and obesity is defined as BMI ≥ 30 kg/m2.
  • Overweight and obese individuals should be advised that the greater their BMI, the greater the risk of CVD, type 2 diabetes, and all-cause mortality.
  • Overweight and obese adults with CV risk factors (high BP, hyperlipidemia, hyperglycemia) should be counseled that lifestyle changes that produce even modest, sustained weight loss of 3%-5% produce clinically meaningful health benefits, and greater weight loss produces greater benefits.
  • Overweight and obese adults should be prescribed a diet to achieve reduced calorie intake.
  • Overweight and obese individuals who would benefit from weight loss should be advised to participate for ≥ 6 months in a comprehensive lifestyle program that assists participants in adhering to a lower-calorie diet and in increasing physical activity through the use of behavioral strategies.
  • Overweight and obese individuals who have lost weight should be advised to participate long-term (≥1 year) in a comprehensive weight loss maintenance program.
  • Adults with a BMI ≥ 40 kg/m2 or BMI ≥ 35 kg/m2 with obesity related co-morbid conditions who are motivated to lose weight, but have not had a sufficient response to behavioral treatment with or without pharmacotherapy, should be informed about bariatric surgery and offered a referral to an experienced bariatric surgeon for consultation and evaluation.
  • The evidence for the benefits and risks of pharmacotherapy for weight loss was not reviewed for this guideline.

Download article with full recommendations for more information on the management of overweight and obesity in adults.

These guidelines are provided only as assistance for physicians making clinical decisions regarding the care of their patients. As such, they cannot substitute the individual judgment brought to each clinical situation by the patient’s family physician. As with all clinical reference resources, they reflect the best understanding of the science of medicine at the time of publication, but they should be used with the clear understanding that continued research may result in new knowledge and recommendations. These guidelines are only one element in the complex process of improving the health of America. To be effective, the guidelines must be implemented.