What should be the focus of the medical history for obesity?

Updated: Jun 09, 2021
  • Author: Osama Hamdy, MD, PhD; Chief Editor: Romesh Khardori, MD, PhD, FACP  more...
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Answer

A full history must include a dietary inventory and an analysis of the patient’s activity level. Screening questions to exclude severe or untreated depression are vital because depression may be a consequence or a cause of excessive dietary intake and reduced activity.

Because almost 30% of patients who are obese have eating disorders, screen for these in the history. The possibility of bingeing, purging, lack of satiety, food-seeking behavior, night-eating syndrome, and other abnormal feeding habits must be identified because management of these habits is crucial to the success of any weight-management program.

When taking the history, the clinician should investigate whether other members of the patient's family have weight problems, inquire about the patient's expectations, and estimate the patient's level of motivation.


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