New guidelines have said that obesity should not be defined solely by a person’s weight.
The guideline published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal on Tuesday has said that obesity should also be measured by someone’s overall health.
It also says that doctors should go beyond merely recommending diet and exercise and look into root causes of weight gain.
Psychological therapy, medication and bariatric surgery like gastric-bypass surgery are among some of the supports doctors should also suggest.
‘All individuals, regardless of body size or composition, would benefit from adopting a healthy, well-balanced eating pattern and engaging in regular physical activity.’
The guidelines still recommend using the diagnostic criteria such as body mass index (BMI) and waist circumference.
One of the guidelines’ authors and the director of research and policy at Obesity Canada, Ximena Ramos-Salas said that many obese patients face discrimination from their doctors which can be more damaging to health.
“The dominant cultural narrative regarding obesity fuels assumptions about personal irresponsibility and lack of willpower and casts blame and shame upon people living with obesity, Ms Ramos-Salas said.
“For a long time we’ve associated obesity as a lifestyle behaviour… It’s been a lot of shame and blame before,” Ms Ramos-Salas said.
‘ … People living with obesity need support like people living with any other chronic disease.’
Ms Ramos-Salas also went onto say that ‘diets don’t work’ and cited studies that show that most people who lose weight on a diet gain it back.