The American College of Lifestyle Medicine (ACLM) has published an official position statement for the treatment of overweight and obesity, affirming the role of compassionate, evidence-based lifestyle interventions as the foundation of comprehensive treatment, with or without surgeries or medications as adjunctive therapies.
The statement says that the patients’ best interests call for treatment to address the six lifestyle pillars as defined by ACLM: regular physical activity, whole-food, plant-predominant nutrition, restorative sleep, stress management, positive social connection, and avoidance of risky substances. However, the statement acknowledges each individual’s lived environment and genetic predisposition, as many people live in a home or societal environment that promotes and exacerbates weight gain.
“While adequately dosed lifestyle interventions may unilaterally achieve success, obesity is a complex, multifactorial disease wherein patients may require approaches beyond lifestyle alone,” the statement says. “However, lifestyle interventions are too often not adequately ‘dosed’ for success. Lifestyle medicine clinicians are trained to prescribe a therapeutic dose of all six pillars. Evidence supports the efficacy of these interventions in addressing the underlying causes of disease, including gut dysbiosis, endothelial dysfunction, oxidative stress, and chronic inflammation.”
Furthermore, a comprehensive lifestyle medicine approach prevents and treats many co-morbidities associated with overweight and obesity, including, hypertension, high cholesterol, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and arthritis, and a lifestyle medicine approach can also reduce the risk of many types of cancer, the statement said. Three in four adults are overweight or have obesity, according to the CDC.
“The more tools clinicians have available to treat patients who have overweight or obesity, the better,” said Beth Frates, MD, FACLM, DipABLM, ACLM President and Clinical Assistant Professor at Harvard Medical School. “As ACLM’s position statement makes clear, it is vital that evidence-based lifestyle interventions always remain at the center of any comprehensive treatment plan, not only to treat people who are overweight or obese but also to treat many other preventable chronic diseases like heart disease and type 2 diabetes. We here at ACLM stand ready to partner with organizations working to alleviate the burden of chronic conditions, and we have a plethora of resources to share.”
ACLM provides pre-professional, graduate, residency and CME/CE educational programs and curricula for physicians and other health professionals, certification in lifestyle medicine, plus lifestyle medicine practice support to members. ACLM is a content provider to AMA Ed Hub™, the American Medical Association’s (AMA) comprehensive online learning platform that supports the learning, licensure and certification needs of physicians and other health professionals. Read ACLM’s full position statement for the treatment of overweight and obesity here.
The American College of Lifestyle Medicine is the nation’s medical professional society advancing lifestyle medicine as the foundation for a redesigned, value-based and equitable healthcare delivery system, leading to whole person health. ACLM educates, equips, empowers and supports its members through quality, evidence-based education, certification and research to identify and eradicate the root cause of chronic disease, with a clinical outcome goal of health restoration as opposed to disease management. www.lifestylemedicine.org