(HealthDay News) — Based on the 2013 guidelines for primary care providers on weight management, weight loss treatment is recommended for 140 million adults in the United States. These findings were presented at ObesityWeek 2014, the annual meeting of The Obesity Society, held from November 2–7 in Boston.

June Stevens, PhD, from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and colleagues used data from the 2007–2012 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey to estimate the proportion of U.S. adults for whom weight loss treatment was recommended, based on 2013 guidelines.

The researchers found that, according to the guidelines, 140 million American adults were recommended for behavioral weight-loss treatment. Adjunctive pharmacotherapy could be considered for up to 116 million of these individuals, and bariatric surgery could be considered for 32.0 million of those recommended for both behavioral treatment and pharmacotherapy. The new guidelines recommended treatment for a larger proportion of those overweight, with only one risk factor, or having a large waist circumference, compared with the 1998 guidelines.

“These guidelines address critical questions in obesity treatment, and provide evidence-based recommendations on topics such as: Who needs to lose weight? How much weight loss is needed to improve health? And what are the best and most appropriate methods for losing weight?” Stevens said in a statement. “Our team was eager to apply these recommendations to the population of the United States, and unfortunately, we were not surprised to see that a massive number of Americans are recommended for weight-loss treatment.”

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