UT Physicians offer research-based medical weight loss

  • Share |

HOUSTON - (May 13, 2011) - Nearly a third of the adults in the Lone Star State are obese and at increased risk of Type 2 diabetes, arthritis, cancer and other health issues. The new UT Physicians Medical Weight Loss program can help people shed unwanted pounds.

A new UTHealth medical weight loss program led by Kevin Hwang, M.D., M.P.H., can help people who want to reduce their weight by at least 10 percent. Hwang is pictured with medical assistant Vicky Davis.

A new UTHealth medical weight loss program led by Kevin Hwang, M.D., M.P.H., can help people who want to reduce their weight by at least 10 percent. Hwang is pictured with medical assistant Vicky Davis.

The innovative program is based on an intensive lifestyle intervention initiative associated with sustained weight loss and improvements in fitness and blood sugar control in individuals with Type 2 diabetes. The initiative is called Look AHEAD (Action for Health in Diabetes).

“The program employs scientifically-based principles to help participants make healthy changes in nutrition and physical activity,” said Kevin Hwang, M.D., M.P.H., medical director of the UT Physicians Medical Weight Loss program and an assistant professor of medicine at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth) Medical School. “Our goal is to help our clients reduce their weight by at least 10 percent if not more.”

Hwang said, “We take a personalized approach to weight loss providing participants with both one-on-one counseling and group counseling. We help people deal with occasional setbacks and help them stick with the program.”

In general, the program is for people who are obese, which is a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or more, or those with a BMI of 27 and at least one obesity-related health condition. The program is housed in the Bellaire offices of The University of Texas Center for Bariatric and Metabolic Surgery, 6700 West Loop South, Suite 500.

“Regardless of how much weight you want to lose, we can help,” said Erik Wilson, M.D., director of the UT Center for Bariatric and Metabolic Surgery, associate professor of surgery at the UTHealth Medical School and medical director of Bariatric Surgery for Memorial Hermann-Texas Medical Center. “We now offer both medical and surgical treatment of obesity, which is a national health epidemic.”

Program participants complete a comprehensive questionnaire, receive a thorough medical evaluation and attend consultations with a registered dietitian.

The Weight and Lifestyle Inventory questionnaire is designed to evaluate weight loss history, nutrition and physical activity habits and social and psychological factors. It is available online at http://www.utweight.com.

The medical assessment is performed by Hwang to determine program eligibility. It includes a medical history, physical exam, and possibly laboratory and other tests.

Employing a high tech approach to weight loss, participants are tested to see how many calories they burn while resting, which is useful in meal planning.

The members of Hwang’s weight loss team also utilize a 3-D white light scanner, which helps participants visualize changes to their bodies.

“Twelve to 24 weeks is the preferred amount of time for a program like this,” said Carol Wolin-Riklin, the program’s registered dietitian. “You are asking people to make lifestyle changes and you can’t do that overnight.”

During her counseling sessions, Wolin-Riklin discusses topics such as how to count calories, how to shop for healthy food and how to read labels. In addition, Wolin-Riklin reviews exercise and food journals and develops personalized nutrition plans.

Many people seeking to lose weight find that it is easier to incorporate a prepared meal program in which calories are already calculated. Wolin-Riklin can aid in the selection of such a service.

People do not need a physician referral to see Hwang for the initial medical evaluation, which may be covered by insurance. There are three different program options with prices ranging from $530 to $1,040. For appointments, call 713.892.5500 or visit www.UTWeight.com.

UT Physicians is the medical group practice of the UTHealth Medical School. Its team of internationally-recognized medical experts includes more than 1,000 doctors certified in 80 medical specialties.

Rob Cahill
Media Hotline: 713-500-3030