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Capital Health lands obesity top gun



Sharma said treating obesity is a challenge and most Canadian doctors really have no obesity treatment. “That’s why we end up just treating all the…
Provided by: Sun Media
Written by: CARTER HAYDU
Aug. 11, 2007

Big bellies beware — a world-class obesity expert is coming to fight the fat in Edmonton.

Capital Health and the University of Alberta have recruited Dr. Arya Sharma, from McMaster University, as health region Weight Wise medical director and obesity research and management chairman. He begins Sept. 1.

Sharma, who is also the Canadian Obesity Network’s scientific director, took the Edmonton appointments because he likes Capital Health’s Weight Wise program which deals with obesity as an epidemic existing across the region’s entire population, rather than a mere problem among individuals.

“Here you have the whole spectrum of medical care within a single system,” he said.

Dr. Richard Lewanczuk, Capital Health chronic disease management regional medical director, said the proportion of overweight people in the Edmonton area, which sits at 50%, is slowly increasing, both among adults and children.

Lewanczuk said local health care professionals are very excited about Sharma’s expertise coming to Edmonton.

“For us, it’s the equivalent to recruiting a hockey star for the Oilers.”

Sharma said treating obesity is a challenge and most Canadian doctors really have no obesity treatment.

“That’s why we end up just treating all the complications of obesity.”

To best battle the bulge, Sharma said a physician can’t merely manage someone’s diabetes or heart disease and expect the overweight patient to be OK. That patient must lose weight and learn to keep that weight off. The physician must approach obesity treatment as a lifelong process.

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