Obesity guidelines outline when to prescribe drugs

New obesity guidelines recently have been released byC. Everett Koop, MD, former U.S. surgeon general. The guidelines include specific instructions for physicians on the use of low- calorie diets, drug therapy, and surgery in obese patients.

For example, for a patient considered to have a "moderate" health risk, dietary modification and increased physical activity are recommended. Weight-reduction surgery and drugs are reserved for patients with the greatest health risks. The patient’s body-mass index is determined, then co-morbid conditions such as hypertension are taken into account. Waist- to-hip ratios are measured, and a family history is obtained as well.

To obtain a copy of the guidelines, send a $3 check payable to Shape Up America to 6707 Democracy Blvd., Suite 107, Bethesda, MD 20817.