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Weighing the Options: Criteria for Evaluating Weight-Management Programs
and the five broad approaches to treatment used by them. In most cases, do-it-yourself, nonclinical, and clinical programs may be appropriate for people at any level of overweight, and some are also applicable for people who are not overweight but who want to obtain information and learn skills to keep from developing a weight problem. Anti-obesity drugs produce short-term weight loss and may remain effective for extended periods, so regulatory policies at the state and federal levels may need to be modified to permit use of these agents by appropriate individuals for longer periods of time than often allowed at present. Surgery is an option only for individuals whose BMI exceeds 40 or for those with a BMI of 35–40 suffering from high-risk comorbid conditions. Recommended programs will almost always include a focus on improving diet, increasing physical activity, and modifying behaviors that lead to weight gain.
In the following section of this report, Chapters 4 through 8, we present a conceptual overview of decisionmaking and use it to develop criteria and a model for evaluating obesity-treatment programs. The Weighing the Options model presented in Chapter 8 provides a framework for the conduct of programs that should help consumers choose more wisely from among available programs and be more successful at long-term weight loss.