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The American Society of Bariatric Physicians defines Bariatric medicine as the medically-supervised treatment of obesity and its associated conditions. In 1985, the National Institutes of Health, at its Health Consensus Development Conference on the Health Implications of Obesity, stated that obesity is a specific disease entity that should be treated and monitored medically by a trained physician.

Obesity is believed to affect more than 97 million people across the nation and the number of over weight or obese Americans is increasing each year. Over one-quarter of all adults could now be considered obese and more than one-half are estimated to be overweight. Obesity has also been established as a major contributor for hypertension, cardiovascular disease, diabetes mellitus, osteo arthritis and some cancers in both men and women.

In accordance with the American Society of Bariatric Physicians and the American Board of Bariatric Medicine Guidelines, the ABBM advocates a comprehensive approach to the treatment of obesity. This includes medical assessment and monitoring, as well as behavioral and dietary counseling, exercise, and, at the physician's discretion, appetite suppressants.