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Extreme Obesity Can Be Treated in Primary Care

Study suggests non-surgical interventions can yield results

WEDNESDAY, Jan. 27 (HealthDay News) -- Non-surgical weight-loss programs delivered in a primary care setting can yield results with extremely obese patients, according to a study in the Jan. 25 issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine.

Donna H. Ryan, M.D., of Louisiana State University System in Baton Rouge, La., and colleagues conducted a study of 390 participants, of whom 200 were randomized to receive an intense medical intervention, including a recommended 900-calorie liquid diet for up to 12 weeks, along with pharmacotherapy and group behavioral counseling, while 190 received usual care.

The study lasted for two years, by which time, 51 percent of the intervention group and 46 percent of the usual-care group had completed the program, the researchers note. Of these, the total weight loss was −9.7 and −0.4 percent, respectively. In addition, the intervention resulted in improvements in a range of metabolic parameters.

"In the United States, physicians should not ignore those patients with class III obesity who cannot undergo bariatric surgery. Research is needed to guide primary care approaches that are safe, efficacious, and cost-effective," the authors write. "The issues of retention and weight loss maintenance require further study, for they are not seen only in studies of class III obesity but in many obesity interventions."

Several authors reported financial relationships with the pharmaceutical industry.

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