Treatment Hurdles: Obesity as a Chronic Disease

Today’s post is another excerpt from “Best Weight: A Practical Guide to Office-Based Weight Management“, recently published by the Canadian Obesity Network.

This guide is meant for health professionals dealing with obese clients and is NOT a self-management tool or weight-loss program. However, I assume that even general readers may find some of this material of interest.


Before recommending weight management programs or strategies, it is important to identify and deal with barriers that may make weight loss more difficult for particular patients, or undermine their efforts at weight-loss maintenance. Pre-emptive management of these barriers can increase the likelihood of long-term success and protect the patient from the emotional and physical consequences of weight cycling.


Even among health care professionals, there is a pervasive attitude that obesity is simply a failure of individual willpower rather than a condition that requires chronic treatment. As a result, patients too often fail to accept the need for long-term lifestyle changes, medication and/or surgery, and health care professionals too often fail to recommend them.

Educating both patients and health care workers is essential to increase awareness of the chronicity of obesity as a disease, thereby improving adherence and increasing the recommendation of long-term treatments.

Many people believe that there is in fact a cure for obesity: simply lose the weight. They forget that the more difficult component of weight management is actually keeping the weight off. Patients are usually prepared to go through the first stage and reduce their weight, but they are not prepared to assume the life-long measures needed to maintain that weight loss.

© Copyright 2010 by Dr. Arya M. Sharma and Dr. Yoni Freedhoff. All rights reserved.

The opinions in this book are those of the authors and do not represent those of the Canadian Obesity Network.

Members of the Canadian Obesity Network can download Best Weight for free.

Best Weight is also available at Amazon and Barnes & Nobles (part of the proceeds from all sales go to support the Canadian Obesity Network)

If you have already read Best Weight, please take a few minutes to leave a review on the Amazon or Barnes & Nobles website.