Holistic Care for Patients at HMC’s National Obesity Treatment Center
Since opening their doors in 2017, the National Obesity Treatment Center of Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC) has continued to expand its care services and today is one of the largest obesity treatment centres in the world.
According to Senior Consultant Professor Shahrad Taheri, the centre was opened in support of the goals outlined in Qatar’s National Health Strategy and in recognition of Qatar’s commitment to providing effective, evidence-based solutions for the prevention of weight-related diseases. The centre was established to deliver holistic, multi-disciplinary care for patients in need of medical management, lifestyle modifications, bariatric, and endoscopic procedures.
Professor Taheri is also chair of the Research Committee at Qatar Metabolic Institute (QMI) and a professor at Weill Cornell Medicine-Qatar (WCM-Q).
Year-on-year, we have expanded our patient care services, and last year we recorded nearly 12,000 patient visits, making the National Obesity Treatment Center one of the largest facilities of its kind in the world.
Professor Taheri said they have also introduced an adolescent service for patients 14 years and older and a service to care for patients with special needs.
In addition to serious medical problems, teen obesity can create social and psychological issues for young people, says Professor Taheri. Children and adolescents who are obese are likely to be obese as adults and are therefore more at risk for weight-related adult health problems such as heart disease, Type 2 diabetes, stroke, several types of cancer, and osteoarthritis, underscoring the importance of the adolescent service.
Individuals with a BMI greater than 30, which approximates to 30 pounds of excess weight, are at risk of developing serious health problems. Once an individual understands what factors are contributing to weight gain, a healthcare professional can help them set appropriate weight loss goals.
Our adolescent service is the county’s only medically-supervised weight management programme that caters to this age group.
The causes of obesity are complex, according to Professor Taheri. There may be many interrelated factors, such as genetics, lifestyle, diet, underlying health conditions, and how an individual’s body uses energy.
Understanding and making lifestyle changes isn’t always easy but our team has extensive experience in the areas of weight loss and weight management and our programmes are tailored to the individual needs of our patients.
Professor Taheri says the National Obesity Treatment Center has also introduced a Diabetes Reversal Clinic centred on research published in the prestigious Lancet Diabetes and Endocrinology Journal.
The research study found that Type 2 diabetes could be reversed in more than 60% of participants through dietary change, physical activity, and behaviour change, and without medication or weight loss surgery.
The study proved it is possible to reverse diabetes through lifestyle modification and that this course of treatment results in a better outcome than diabetes medications or bariatric surgery. The establishment of these clinics is also a milestone in that they are the first of their kind in the region.
Professor Taheri says the goal of obesity treatment is to reach and stay at a healthy weight. Maintaining a healthy weight improves one’s overall health and lowers the risk of developing complications related to obesity.
Education about obesity is a core part of the programme at the centre and helps many patients better understand their condition, and feel more empowered to take control and stick to the treatment plan.
The National Obesity Treatment Center has been a trailblazer in providing what is arguably the region’s best obesity care and support, said Professor Taheri.
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