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5 A's of Obesity Medicine

Updated: Sep 1, 2019

1. Ask

Before jumping into any treatment ask for permission to discuss body weight. It’s important you use friendly questions to gauge the patient’s readiness for change. Don’t just assume that they want to lose weight. Be respectful and give people a chance to open up and discuss their goals.

2. Assess

Once you have successfully sought permission to discuss weight, the next thing to do is getting key measurements. BMI, waist circumference, and body fat percentage are all vital metrics to diagnosing Obesity. This is also a good time to discuss drivers and complications of excessive weight. Some physicians use this as an opportunity to review blood work. Apart from blood work an extensive health history is part of the assessment period.

3. Advice

Once all the facts are discovered, the next step is advice. Only give advice about long term strategies and treatment plans. Advice the patients about the benefits of modest weight-loss. Let them know the immense health benefits of even losing 5% to 10% of total body weight. Then present all the different treatment options to the patient in the full continuum of care.

4. Agree

Make sure you promote a plan that fits the patients’ needs and lifestyle. Include the patient in the selection of the plan. Work together to set realistic expectations, targets, and behavioral changes. It’s important that the patient takes ownership over his or her weight-loss. This can only be done when the patient is directly involved in the selection of a treatment process.

5. Assist

Once a treatment plan is selected, identify and address all possible barriers. In addition, provide patients with as many resources as possible. The most important thing to do however is scheduling follow up visits. Weight reduction takes time and can only be done through consistent routine follow up appointments.


Obesity Medicine Association (OMA) - Clinical Leaders in Obesity Medicine. (n.d.). Retrieved from

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