Hackensack University Medical Center has established the Center for Weight Loss and Metabolic Health, an integrated program to help people who have struggled to lose weight to achieve and maintain their weight loss goals. The program brings together specialists from different areas to offer multiple weight loss techniques, with each patient's personal plan customized to their needs.
With obesity affecting more than 2 in 5 adults in the United States, according to data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, Dr. Schmidt says, like with any chronic disease, it is crucial to receive the right diagnosis and explore all treatment options, under the right supervision of a dedicated, caring and compassionate team.
"Weight management is not one size fits all," explains Hans J. Schmidt, MD, who leads the Center. "Patients may need a program that integrates more than one approach to achieve the best results."
Each patient starts with a pre screening evaluation to assess their medical history and metabolic health, survey their prior weight loss techniques, and screen for sleep apnea. They then meet with a healthcare professional matched to their individual needs, who customizes a plan of care that may include services such as:
- Nutritional counseling
- Weight loss medications
- Weight loss surgery
- Exercise guidance
- Dietary supplements
Patients may benefit from the expertise of endocrinologists, bariatric surgeons, registered dietitians, sleep medicine experts, cardiologists, and fitness experts, among others -; all through one center. At monthly visits, each patient's progress is assessed as well as their ability to make the recommended behavioral and dietary changes.
People with a BMI of 27 or more who have tried unsuccessfully to lose weight on their own are eligible to participate in the program. Overweight and obese patients with weight-related medical conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and heart disease are also eligible.
"I struggled with being overweight for years," says 67 year old Steve Sussmann, who at the height of his weight of more than 280 pounds had diabetes, asthma, pain in his hips and ankles, and sleep apnea. "I used to look at these things as separate conditions and then I realized that all of the issues I had were symptoms of morbid obesity."
In a consultation with doctors, Steve says he was advised it would be nearly impossible for him to lose the excess weight and keep it off with just diet and exercise. "And so we decided that I would most benefit from weight-loss surgery," explains Steve, who 10 years after having a bariatric sleeve procedure, has not only learned to keep the weight off through proper diet and exercise, but he also no longer needs medication for high blood pressure or asthma.
"After years of struggling, that one consultation changed my life," says Steve who celebrated his weight loss with a trip to Amsterdam where he walked and biked all over the city. "I have no doubt that other people who suffer from excessive fat accumulation presenting a risk to their health, will benefit from the correct diagnosis and appropriate treatment plan devised by this team at the new Center for Weight Loss and Metabolic Health."
The team at the Center for Weight Loss and Metabolic Health understands that weight loss is a lengthy journey. We are committed to staying on that journey with each person for as long as it takes."
Dr. Hans J. Schmidt, MD, Hackensack University Medical Center