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Obesity Must Be Treated More Aggressively

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WASHINGTON, Dec 01, 2003 (United Press International via COMTEX) -- A government advisory board Monday reportedly urged for the first time doctors weigh and measure all adults and become more aggressive in treating obesity.

The Washington Post said the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force also recommended intensive counseling and behavior treatment for obese people.

The newspaper said the task force advised standard obesity treatment include intensive group or individual behavior therapy at least twice a month, led by health professionals such as psychologists, registered dietitians and exercise instructors. The panel said such therapy should continue for a minimum of three months.

While not officially binding, the Post said the task force's recommendations generally become the standard of care for medical practice in the United States.

The task force said even a small weight loss of fewer than 12 pounds can result in measurable health benefits, such as lowering blood pressure and reducing the risk of diabetes.

Task force Chairman Dr. Alfred Berg, head of family medicine at the University of Washington in Seattle said: "Our message to physicians is that behavior modification works for obese patients. We do have something that makes an impact. That's a very positive message."

Copyright 2003 by United Press International.

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