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Telehealth and patient management recommendations lead 2021 Obesity Algorithm updates


Since 2013, the Obesity Algorithm has undergone yearly updates to help healthcare professionals stay abreast of the latest developments in obesity medicine.

The tumultuous 2020 has reaffirmed the degree by which obesity is a disease. COVID-19 has not only disproportionately affected patients with obesity, but the outcomes of COVID-19 among patients with obesity is more severe. Making matters more challenging are disruptions to ongoing obesity education from a clinician perspective, and disruptions to the continuity of care from a patient perspective. With the historic number of adults with obesity increasing by more than 200 percent over recent decades, and with possible adverse bodyweight effects of “stay at home” and other potential adverse consequences during this time of a pandemic, healthcare professionals are more likely than ever to benefit from ongoing educational support, and guidance in managing patients with obesity.1 2 To assist, the Obesity Medicine Association (OMA) has issued major updates — including telehealth guidance — to its Adult Obesity Algorithm.

Since 2013, the Obesity Algorithm has undergone yearly updates to help healthcare professionals stay abreast of the latest developments in obesity medicine. The 2021 Adult Obesity Algorithm® is no exception, and includes revised classifications of percent body fat, and guidance regarding body composition android and visceral fat metrics. Additionally, this year’s peer-reviewed updates to the algorithm better define physical activity goals for patients with obesity, expand guidance for obesity management via telehealth, and introduce templates to help clinicians learn how to start an obesity medicine practice.

Additional updates to the 2021 Obesity Algorithm include tools, resources and information about:

  • Obesity and organ transplantation, kidney stones, and orthopedic conditions
  • Metabolic syndrome
  • Management of patients with increasing cholesterol with ketogenic diet
  • Women and obesity
  • Lipedema
  • Hypothalamic obesity
  • Obesity setpoint myth
  • Fruit versus high fructose corn syrup
  • Inclusion of setmelanotide 

Assessment and management of obesity is undergoing rapid advancement and change. The Obesity Medicine Association is committed to helping clinicians be better aware of these changes, via the Obesity Algorithm and other educational initiatives. That’s why the 2021 Obesity Algorithm is available in print and digital formats for OMA members and non-members alike. OMA members can access the updated Obesity Algorithm e-book for free and non-members can download the interactive e-book for just $59. To become an OMA member, visit: https://obesitymedicine.org/join/.

Harold Bays MD, FOMA, FTOS, FACC, FNLA, FASPC, is Medical Director and President of the Louisville Metabolic and Atherosclerosis Research Center, and has served as a Principal Investigator for over 500 clinical trials. He is Chief Science Officer of the Obesity Medicine Association, Board Certified in Internal Medicine and Endocrinology, is a Diplomate of the American Board of Obesity Medicine, and is a Diplomate of the American Board of Clinical Lipidology. Dr. Bays has authored well over 250 peer review articles, and authored / coauthored / presented hundreds of abstracts at scientific meetings. He has served as scientific writer of the OMA Obesity Algorithm (slides and eBook) each year since its beginning in 2013. Dr. Bays was awarded the Obesity Medicine Clinician of the Year Award (2016), the Committee Leadership Award (2014), and the Dr. Peter G. Lindner Award (2019).

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