Overweight and Obesity

by Michael_Koger

Overweight and obesity comprise a serious public health problem across the globe.

In 2016, there were more than 1.9 billion overweight adults worldwide. More than 650 million of them suffered from obesity. During that same year, there were 41 million children less than five years of age with it. In the United States, childhood obesity affects approximately 12.7 million children and adolescents. Moreover, it disproportionately affects low-income individuals [1, 2].

Though the occurrence of this condition in the United States has declined over the last several years, it currently affects more than a third of adults in that country [3].

There is much research and debate in the pediatric and other medical literature about this matter.

In any event, it is clear that the risk and occurrence of heart disease, diabetes mellitus, high blood pressure, and lipid disorders have a connection with excessive body weight [3].

Evaluation of the Client

     Therefore, medical doctors have a responsibility to carefully evaluate these clients and make the diagnosis as early as possible.  This entails history and physical examination, laboratory screening, questionnaires, lifestyle change, and behavioral therapy [3].

     There are also several well-known organizations which provide useful tools for physicians and patients.  These include the Obesity Society, American Heart Association Task Force on Practice Guidelines, and the American College of Cardiology [3].

     Clinicians can collect information about food consumption and physical activity.  Questionnaires as well as other evaluations will be beneficial in that regard.  The evaluation will cover height, weight, and body mass index (BMI).  The BMI is the client’s weight in kilograms divided by the square of height in meters.  A BMI of more than 30 suggests obesity [3].

     Registered dieticians will obtain further assessments and recommendations about dietary modification.  It is also useful for the patient to have social support in conjunction with these efforts.  Additionally, mental health counseling is an important measure which the provider must use [3].

     In the United States, many of these services are reimbursable under Medicare [3].   

     Finally, the medical team must consider medication that can lead to weight gain.  Some of these include corticosteroids, tricyclic antidepressants, antipsychotic medication, drugs to control seizures, and oral birth control pills.


     There has been considerable progress in the understanding and management of overweight and obesity.  Further research and application of current knowledge will provide success in the control of this serious public health issue.


  1. World Health Organization.  (2017).  Obesity and overweight.
  2. U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.  (2017).  Overweight and obesity
  3. Zambrano, J. and Burguera, B.  (2017).  Q:  Can effective obesity counseling fit into the 20-minute appointment?  Cleveland Clinic Journal of Medicine, 84, 835-837.
  4. The photo shows a lady shopping for healthy foods at a market.  Reprinted with permission from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control/Amanda Mills.
  5. Copyright 2017 Michael Koger, Sr.  All rights reserved.


The information contained in this article is for educational purposes only, and one should not use it for diagnosis or treatment without the opinion of a health professional. Any reader who is concerned about his or her health should contact their physician for advice.

Updated: 11/30/2017, Michael_Koger
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