The American Society For Clinical Nutrition Supports Obesity Guidelines

June 24, 1998

BETHESDA, MARYLAND -- The American Society for Clinical Nutrition strongly endorses the Clinical Guidelines on Overweight and Obesity in Adults, recently released by the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute. These guidelines are based on a lengthy and disciplined evaluation of scientific evidence and are an important step forward in the identification, assessment and treatment of obesity. Americans can now, through their health care practitioners, turn to these guidelines for unbiased recommendations regarding the definition of overweight and obesity, and for achieving and maintaining a healthy body weight.

Obesity is clearly identified as a serious threat to the health of Americans. The valid strategies set forth in this document provide sensible mechanisms to alter lifestyle and improve overall health. Body mass index (BMI) as well as waist circumference are used as guides to potential risk of medical problems such as coronary heart disease, other atherosclerotic diseases, type 2 diabetes mellitus and hypertension.

Unfortunately, a controversy about the definition of overweight as defined in these guidelines has been generated by comments in the lay press. There is no such controversy about the definition of overweight in the field of obesity research. The scientific community has long accepted a BMI of 25 as the upper limit of healthy weight. The public controversy only serves to overshadow the important aspect of these guidelines, which is to define strategies for the diagnosis, prevention and treatment options of overweight and obesity.

The guidelines provide a valuable source of information for those involved in obesity treatment. Health practitioners are encouraged to obtain a complete copy of the guidelines and to understand that obesity is a chronic disease that requires lifelong treatment. The goal for some patients is the prevention of further weight gain.

The American Society for Clinical Nutrition, Inc. strongly endorses these guidelines as written and urges practitioners to follow them in treating their patients.

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More information on this topic is available from: NHLBI Communications Office, P.O. Box 30105, Bethesda, MD 20824-0105 or phone 301-496-4236. The NHLBI Website has links to the executive summary and complete manual "http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/nhlbi/nhlbi.htm".

American Society for Clinical Nutrition/American Society for Nutritional Sciences

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