Treating Excess Weight and Obesity Requires Many Different Approaches

Excess weight and obesity among adults results from many influences including personal factors, the communities where people live and government policies. Therefore, successful weight loss must include multiple strategies addressing each of these influences, as well as the expertise of registered dietitian nutritionists, according to an updated position paper from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

The position paper, "Interventions for Treatment of Overweight and Obesity in Adults," was recently published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. The position paper states: "It is the position of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics that successful treatment of overweight and obesity in adults requires adoption and maintenance of lifestyle behaviors contributing to both dietary intake and physical activity. These behaviors are influenced by many factors; therefore, interventions incorporating more than one level of the socioecological model and addressing several key factors in each level may be more successful than interventions targeting any one level and factor alone."

The position paper updates the Academy's 2009 position on this issue to include revised science-based weight management guidelines from the Academy's Evidence Analysis Library, the American Heart Association, American College of Cardiology and The Obesity Society.

The scope of the Academy's position paper has been expanded to include a "socioecological approach," which "provides a framework that proposes that multiple levels of influence can impact energy balance behaviors and weight outcomes," according to the position paper. "Levels of influence include intrapersonal factors, community and organizational factors, and government and public policies."

The position paper also details how the most effective treatment of overweight and obesity requires a team of health professionals that includes a registered dietitian nutritionist.

"As no one profession has all skills required for multilevel, multifactor interventions, registered dietitians nutritionists need to work collaboratively with other disciplines to effectively implement interventions," according to the authors of the position paper. "Within these teams, the RDN provides expertise in nutrition and utilizes evidence-based strategies that help individuals eat fewer calories and increase their physical activity."

— Source: Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics