Update on Status and Clinical Significance of Obesity

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Summary: These two new articles from JAMA provide clear epidemiological and clinical evidence regarding our need to further address obesity in all populations. Recent epidemiological evidence places a new urgency for reducing the risks associated with elevated body weight and also defines many of the newer insights resulting from published population and follow-up studies. Physicians are requested to place a much higher priority on assisting patients with weight management strategies that lower long term body weight.  The second article asserts that life expectancy gains from the last two decades are now being threatened by the adverse effects of overweight status and obesity. New research documents the causal relationships between obesity and U.S. mortality rates and strongly affirms the importance of lifestyle risk factors in solving this long standing and intractable problem.

Practical Significance: These two articles provide an excellent summary on the current clinical importance of weight loss efforts in clinical practice and in worksite wellness programming. It has become clear that the risks associated with increased body weight are tangible and significant. Wellness programs need to redouble their efforts to help individuals lower their body weight.

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