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A new study indicates that 65% of the population is recommended for behavioral treatment by new weight-loss standards. This is an enormous increase from last year of recommended weight-loss therapies. Dr. June Stevens from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, the lead doctor for the recommended weight-loss guidelines, emphasizes that this statistic calls for the need of increased public health solutions to accommodate everyone recommended for weight-loss.

Dr. Stevens and her team compared the overweight guidelines that were set in 1998 and the ones set in 2013. The new guidelines set in 2013 made it so that someone needed to only have one cardiovascular risk factor rather than two for the 1998 guidelines. For an individual to be considered overweight, they must have a body mass index (BMI) between 25 and 29.9 and fall under one (two in 1998) of the following cardiovascular risk factors: hypertension, impaired fasting glucose, abnormal LDL cholesterol, low HDL cholesterol, triglycerides or lipid-lowering medication, or a large waist (greater than 88cm for women or greater than 102cm for men). To be considered obese, the individual’s BMI must be over 30 and include one of the previously mentioned cardiovascular risk factors.

The decrease guidelines from two to one cardiovascular risk factor creates a new demographic of people considered overweight, which definitely adds to the increased numbers of overweight individuals. The recently updated guidelines allow for clinicians to have a clear guide on when to start the prevention of obesity. This will also give patients other options if exercise and diet have not worked for them in the past.  Patients who fall under the new guidelines are recommended to pursue lifestyle management that includes behavioral strategies, metabolic or bariatric surgery, and pharmacotherapy.