Behavioral Weight Loss Interventions to Prevent Obesity-Related Morbidity and Mortality in Adults: US Preventive Services Task Force Recommendation Statement

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Abstract

Importance

More than 35% of men and 40% of women in the United States are obese. Obesity is associated with health problems such as increased risk for coronary heart disease, type 2 diabetes, various types of cancer, gallstones, and disability. Obesity is also associated with an increased risk for death, particularly among adults younger than 65 years.

Objective

To update the US Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) 2012 recommendation on screening for obesity in adults.

Evidence Review

The USPSTF reviewed the evidence on interventions (behavioral and pharmacotherapy) for weight loss or weight loss maintenance that can be provided in or referred from a primary care setting. Surgical weight loss interventions and nonsurgical weight loss devices (eg, gastric balloons) are considered to be outside the scope of the primary care setting.

Findings

The USPSTF found adequate evidence that intensive, multicomponent behavioral interventions in adults with obesity can lead to clinically significant improvements in weight status and reduce the incidence of type 2 diabetes among adults with obesity and elevated plasma glucose levels; these interventions are of moderate benefit. The USPSTF found adequate evidence that behavior-based weight loss maintenance interventions are of moderate benefit. The USPSTF found adequate evidence that the harms of intensive, multicomponent behavioral interventions (including weight loss maintenance interventions) in adults with obesity are small to none. Therefore, the USPSTF concludes with moderate certainty that offering or referring adults with obesity to intensive behavioral interventions or behavior-based weight loss maintenance interventions has a moderate net benefit.

Conclusions and Recommendation

The USPSTF recommends that clinicians offer or refer adults with a body mass index of 30 or higher to intensive, multicomponent behavioral interventions. (B recommendation)

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