New Delhi: Once considered a high-income country problem, obesity is now on the rise in low- and middle-income countries, as per the World Health Organisation (WHO). As per WHO data, worldwide obesity has almost tripled since 1975 and 2016, over 650 million people across the globe were obese. With an aim to tackle the global problem of rising obesity and to help the patients get better through evidence-based treatment, researchers have proposed a scientifically improved disease classification system for obesity that reflects on physiological processes associated with it and the clinical impacts it has, which are similar to a chronic disease.
The research published an online journal ‘Obesity’ says that obesity is responsible for a huge burden of suffering and social costs, and yet many patients lack access to evidence‐based therapies. It further says that diagnostic term “obesity” and inadequate approaches to it contribute to suboptimal efforts to prevent and treat obesity as a chronic disease.
Researchers W. Timothy Garvey Professor in the Department of Nutrition Sciences and Director of the Diabetes Research Center at the University of Alabama at Birmingham and Jeffrey I. Mechanick, an expert at Marie-Josée and Henry R. Kravis Center for Clinical Cardiovascular Health at Mount Sinai Heart in New York City, have devised a medically actionable classification system based on the diagnostic term “adiposity‐based chronic disease” (ABCD) that reflects specific complications causing morbidity and mortality associated with obesity.
As per the research, the proposed ABCD coding system has four domains: pathophysiology, body mass index (BMI) classification, complications, and complication severity. According to Dr. Meeta Singh, a physician in Jaipur,
Obesity has always been looked at as the excess of calories or a high Body-Mass Index and the person suffering from obesity is usually advised to consume less calories and burn more. However, it is not just about that. Obesity is a disease which can give rise to many other diseases. And this is what the new research is trying to highlight.
The ABCD approach incorporates disease staging, specific complications that impact health, the basis for clinical intervention, individualised treatment goals and a personalized medicine approach. In a statement, researcher Garvey said,
The coding reflects ‘what we are treating’ and ‘why we are treating it’, and, hopefully, will provide an impetus for greater access of patients to evidence-based treatments.
The ABCD coding system tries to understand the origin and history of abnormalities in the adipose tissues that store fat in the human body. For example, abnormality caused by some deficiency, or medications, steroid or some syndrome/ disease or genes or psychological issues like depression, night-eating syndrome, binge-eating syndrome, sleep apnea, hypertension among others. According to the researchers, the proposed system can facilitate a personalised approach to obesity care by recognising the disease in individual patients.