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Guidelines on Overweight and Obesity: Electronic Textbook
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Role of Health Professionals in Weight Loss Therapy


Evidence Statement: A number of health professionals can play an important role in a weight loss and management program. Evidence Category B.

Rationale: Various randomized controlled trials were reviewed that highlighted the role of the nutritionists (413, 476), exercise physiologists and physical education instructors (401, 447), nurses (413), and psychologists (476, 487) in addition to the physician in providing assessment, treatment, and follow-up during weight loss. As a result, it is suggested that the health professionals avail themselves of the various disciplines that offer expertise in dietary counseling, physical activity, and behavior change. The relationship between the physician and these disciplines can be a direct, formal one or a more indirect referral. It is important to emphasize that a positive attitude of support and encouragement from all professionals is crucial to continuing success (627).  

Recommendation:  A weight loss and maintenance program can be conducted by a practitioner without specialization in weight loss so long as that person has the requisite interest and knowledge. However, various health professionals with different expertise are available and helpful to a practitioner who would like assistance. Evidence Category B.
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