5As of Obesity Management at ASBP

This morning I am presenting an hour-long plenary talk on the Canadian Obesity Network’s 5As of Obesity Management at the 62nd Annual Symposium of the American Society of Bariatric Physicians (ASBP) in Orlando.

Founded in 1950, ASBP describes itself as,

…a medical professional association for physicians, nurse practitioners and physician assistants focused on the treatment and management of overweight and obese patients and their related conditions.”

Attendance at this conference and participation in the review courses count towards obtaining and maintaing American Board Certification in Obesity Medicine, a joint venture of several US obesity organisations including

American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM)
American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG)
American Gastroenterological Association (AGA)
American Heart Association (AHA)
American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery (ASMBS)
American Society for Nutrition (ASN)
American Society for Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition (ASPEN)
American Society of Bariatric Physicians (ASBP)
STOP Obesity Alliance
The Endocrine Society (ENDO)
The Obesity Society (TOS)

According to the description on the ABOM website,

An obesity medicine physician is a physician with expertise in the sub-specialty of obesity medicine. This sub-specialty requires competency in and a thorough understanding of the treatment of obesity and the genetic, biologic, environmental, social, and behavioral factors that contribute to obesity. The obesity medicine physician employs therapeutic interventions including diet, physical activity, behavioral change, and pharmacotherapy.  The obesity medicine physician utilizes a comprehensive approach, and may include additional resources such as nutritionists, exercise physiologists, psychologists and bariatric surgeons as indicated to achieve optimal results.  Additionally, the obesity medicine physician maintains competency in providing pre- peri- and post-surgical care of bariatric surgery patients, promotes the prevention of obesity, and advocates for those who suffer from obesity.”

Currently no such specialization exists in Canada, which is why several Canadian docs have taken or are preparing for the US certification exams.

While specialist certification in obesity is certainly laudable, it is also important that the general practitioner, or in fact all health professionals, have at least minimal competencies in approaching and helping patients address their weight related health problems.

This is the purpose of the Canadian Obesity Network’s 5As of Obesity Management program, which was specifically designed for the busy non-specialist working in primary care, upon whom the task of managing the vast majority of obesity individuals ultimately falls.

Thus, while little that I have to say about obesity management may be new to obesity specialists, all of what is contained in the 5As of Obesity management constitutes the minimum level of knowledge that should be expected of every practicing health professional.

I certainly look forward to the feedback and enthusiasm that I am sure I will receive from my US colleagues.

Orlando, FL