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Guidelines on Overweight and Obesity: Electronic Textbook
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Goals of Weight Loss and Management

The general goals of weight loss and management are:

  • To reduce body weight.
  • To maintain a lower body weight over the long term.
  • To prevent further weight gain.
Specific targets for each of these goals can be considered.

Depending on the degree of overweight and the presence of other diseases or risk factors, a patient should be advised to either reduce body weight or prevent further weight gain. All patients with a BMI of 30 or those with a BMI of 25 to 29.9 kg/m2 (or a high waist circumference) and two or more risk factors should attempt to lose weight. However, it is important to ask the patient whether they want to lose weight. Patients with a BMI of 25 to 29.9 kg/m2 with one or no risk factors should work on maintaining their current weight and prevent further weight gain. The justification for offering these overweight patients the option of maintaining (rather than losing) weight is that their health risk, while higher than that of persons with a BMI of <25, is only moderately increased.

Evidence indicates that a moderate weight loss can be maintained over time if some form of therapy continues. It is better to maintain a moderate weight loss over a prolonged period than to regain from a marked weight loss.

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