5As: Guiding Principles
The following core principles were identified during the consultation processes that went into the development of the 5As framework.
Obesity is a chronic and often progressive condition: Successful obesity management requires realistic and sustainable treatment strategies. Short-term “quick-fix” solutions focusing on maximizing weight loss are generally unsustainable and therefore associated with high rates of weight regain.
Obesity management is not about simply reducing numbers on the scale: The success of obesity management should be measured in improvements in health and well-being rather than in the amount of weight lost. For many patients, even modest reductions in body weight can lead to significant improvements in health and well-being.
Early intervention means addressing root causes and removing roadblocks: Successful obesity management requires identifying and addressing both the root causes of weight gain as well as the barriers to weight management. Weight gain may result from a reduction in metabolic rate, overeating or reduced physical activity secondary to biological, psychological or socio-economic factors. Many of these factors also pose significant barriers to weight management.
Success is different for every individual: Patients vary considerably in their readiness and capacity for weight management. Success can be defined as better quality-of-life, greater self-esteem, higher energy levels, improved overall health, prevention of further weight gain, modest (5%) weight loss or maintenance of the patient’s ‘best’ weight.
A patient’s ‘best’ weight may never be an ‘ideal’ weight: Setting unachievable targets simply sets up patients for failure. Instead, help patients set weight targets based on the ‘best’ weight they can sustain while still enjoying their life and reaping the benefits of improved health.