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Advances in Health and Medicine

Obesity Pervades Many Illnesses


“When it comes to weight management, one size does not fit all,” says psychiatry professor Madelyn Fernstrom, director of Pitt’s Weight Management Center. “Obesity pervades so many other illnesses.”

Founded in 1997, the center’s doctors treat obesity and its comorbidities, including heart disease and hypertension. Whether patients need to lose 20 pounds or 200, they can find help from Pitt clinicians.

“People like to think of obesity as a simple, discrete problem,” says psychiatry professor John Fernstrom, who directs research at the center. “It’s not.”

It’s also not strictly an adult problem. Obese children often face additional, related health challenges like insulin resistance and polycystic ovary syndrome. Professor Silva Arslanian directs the Weight Management and Wellness Center at Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC, where doctors help families with weight problems.

To bring weight management beyond hospitals, professor Lewis Kuller at Pitt’s Graduate School of Public Health encourages physicians to involve the entire family in lifestyle management. In addition, the University’s Physical Activity and Weight Management Research Center provides resources to Pitt students, faculty, and staff as well as the community.