From the Gut: Gastroenterology Opportunities in Obesity Management

Debra Shute, October 1, 2016

As realities of gastroenterology practice shift, GIs have an opportunity to use endoscopic therapies to address root causes of conditions they already treat.

As realities of gastroenterology practice shift, GIs have an opportunity to use endoscopic therapies to address root causes of conditions they already treat.

This article first appeared in the October 2016 issue of HealthLeaders magazine.

As Hippocrates is believed to have said, "All disease begins in the gut."

And although not classified as a disease by the American Medical Association until 2013, obesity can be a chronic condition for which gastroenterologists have an opportunity, if not obligation, to intervene.

"Gastrointestinal manifestations of obesity are often the first presentation outside of some of the mechanical problems with being obese. Very often, reflux and fatty liver can present even earlier than diabetes or cardiovascular disease," says Sarah E. Streett, MD, chair of the American Gastroenterological Association (AGA) Institute Practice Management and Economics Committee and clinical associate professor of medicine at Stanford University School of Medicine. Streett also oversees AGA obesity-related initiatives.

According to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, normal weight is defined as having a body mass index (BMI) between 18.5 and 24.9.

A BMI over 25 is considered overweight, while 30 marks the threshold for obesity and more than 40 is considered extremely obese.

More than one-third (37.9%) of adults in the United States age 20 and older were obese in 2014, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, while a full 70.7% were considered overweight or obese.

Debra Shute

Debra Shute is the Senior Physicians Editor for HealthLeaders Media.

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