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From The CriticsReviewer: Roy E. Weiss, MD, PhD (University of Chicago Medical Center)
Description: This a multiauthored focused manual provides useful summary information on the approach to obesity. Each chapter is succinctly written, no longer than 10-12 pages, and has useful figures.
Purpose: The editor's goal was to provide a balanced view of controversies in specific treatment approaches in the management of obesity. Obesity is a common and frustrating problem which is at the root of many other health problems in America, therefore a book which will allow for a rational approach to evaluation and management would be a welcome addition. Although there are no "easy solutions," this book tries to put things into perspective from the aspects of diet, exercise, medication, and surgery.
Audience: The book is intended for primary care professionals, subspecialty fellows, house officers, and medical students. Although this short version should be a prelude to a more comprehensive textbook of obesity, this will quench the thirst of a primary care physician and medical student, but probably does not go into sufficient depth to be useful for the endocrinology or gastroenterology fellow.
Features: One will find all aspects of obesity management covered to some extent in this book. There is even a chapter on the ethical use of medication for the treatment of obesity. The second to last chapter of the book is devoted to the regulation of appetite by the central nervous system. This is a well written chapter that really should be at the beginning of the book and serve as an understanding for obesity and a rational basis for its treatment. Unfortunately, the half-tone illustrations are not clear. The chapters describing diets and excercise are well done. The reader will find the objective of a pro/con discussion particularly useful in the description of "fad" diets. The chapter on surgical approaches, although brief, could have used the same approach and been referenced with trials that show the reported efficacy (or not) of the approach, complications, etc. Also lacking is a brief discussion of the genetic basis of obesity. The statement that Cushings disease is ruled out in the evaluation of obesity if <100 micrograms per 24 hours, may not be universally accepted, with newer assays having 50 as the upper limit of normal.
Assessment: The reader will find this book a useful and succinct review of obesity. It adequately covers information regarding diets, exercise, medication, and surgery so that the primary care physician can initiate therapy and then refer the patient on to a specialist if further evaluation and treatment are necessary.