The Edmonton Obesity Staging System

eoss

eoss

Dr. Arya Sharma, an obesity expert from the University of Alberta, has developed a new classification system to help doctors assess and treat obese patients.

If proven successful, this system would be used in tandem with the BMI measurement to help identify the health differences between people with similar BMIs

image from howstuffworks.com
image from howstuffworks.com

Dr. Sharma feels that “BMI does not always allow us to make rational clinical decisions regarding obesity management, because measures of weight (such as BMI) do not reflect severity of obesity in a given individual”.

Not only would doctors rank people with Class 1, 2 or 3 BMIs — where Class 3 is the heaviest, but not necessarily the worst — they would also use five new stage rankings.

  • Stage 0 would be someone with no health problems.
  • Stage 1 would be someone with risk factors, such as snoring or borderline hypertension.
  • Stage 2 and 3 would be someone whose condition is worsening, causing a heart attack, liver cirrhosis, sleep apnea or need for hip and knee replacement.
  • Stage 4 patients have so many problems they have to be treated extremely aggressively or need palliative care because losing the weight would be so difficult.

Using the two systems together would mean someone could have a Class 3 BMI, but only be at Stage 0.

Doctors would encourage that person to lose weight, but not suggest stomach surgery or prescription drugs since that person is otherwise healthy. Medical advice would become much more urgent for someone at Class 3, Stage 3, where bariatric surgery may be necessary.

“We think that if you have a staging system, that staging system will not differentiate how big people are, but about how sick people are,” said Sharma. “It helps (patients) in terms of recognizing how obesity is affecting their health.”

Currently, the EOSS is being studied at Alberta Health Services’ adult Weight Wise clinic in Edmonton, Alberta for both its accuracy and usefulness to doctors.

I have requested some more information from Dr. Sharma and I am hoping to have him answer a few of the questions that I have about EOSS…like why he feels that the majority of health care dollars should be spent on people in Stage 2 or 3.

What’s wrong with preventing the obesity in the first place?

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