As blogged a few days ago, we have now published the 2020 Canadian Adult Obesity Clinical Practice Guidelines in the Canadian Medical Association Journal (CMAJ).


So why does Canada need obesity guidelines?


The 2020 Canadian Adult Obesity Clinical Practice Guidelines (all 19 chapters here) were written as a desperately needed update from the last obesity guidelines, which were published in 2006.  In the last fourteen years, there has been a colossal evolution in our knowledge and understanding of obesity, as well as treatment options that we didn’t have back then. There is a huge lack of understanding of obesity in the health care profession, and an enormous stigma around obesity in our society that can negatively impact people’s access to care.


The Guidelines were developed to support family doctors and their health care teams in providing excellent, evidence-informed, and patient-centred care for people living with overweight or obesity.   We included key messages for people living with excess weight, such that people living with this chronic disease can learn about obesity and use these guidelines as an advocacy tool to approach their health care providers for help.  The guidelines are also intended as a tool for all health care providers, policy makers, insurance providers, and educators to improve care, and access to important treatment options.


In the Guideline Summary published in the CMAJ, you’ll see that the patient journey in obesity management falls neatly into the 5A’s of Obesity:


ASK permission.  ‘Would it be alright if we discussed your weight?” Asking permission shows compassion and empathy, and builds trust between the person struggling with weight and their health care provider.


ASSESS your patient’s story. What are the goals that matter to your patient? What are the root causes contributing to their weight struggle? Take the focus off of the numbers on the scale, and focus on improving health and well-being.


ADVISE on management.

Medical nutrition therapy: personalized counseling by a dietitian with a focus on healthy food choices and evidence-based nutrition therapy.

Physical activity: 30-60 mins of moderate to vigorous activity most days.

An improved ability to adhere to these healthier lifestyles are supported by any/all of the Three Pillars Of Obesity Management:

  • Psychological support (cognitive behavioral therapy, managing sleep/time/stress, psychotherapy); and/or
  • Medications for help in losing weight AND to help maintain weight loss; and/or
  • Bariatric surgery.


AGREE on goals. Collaborate between patient and health care provider to create a personalized, sustainable action plan.


ASSIST your patient in managing drivers of their weight struggle,  and help them overcome these barriers.


Stay tuned for much more on the Obesity Guidelines in coming weeks!


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